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He’s stuck with them through thick and thin, but this Preston ace may start getting fed up

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For Preston North End, it has been another entertaining and rather impressive 2018/19 campaign with their Championship status comfortably secured.

Last season saw them fly close to the play-off places thanks to a brilliant late run of form and there will have been hopes that they could go one step better this season.

But the current campaign has largely seen them follow a very similar pattern.

A shoddy start saw them scrabbling around in a relegation scrap but a post Christmas purple patch, that saw them go unbeaten for 12 matches, propelled them into a play-off battle.

However, with rumours that Alex Neil could be set to depart to West Bromwich Albion beginning to circulate, North End hit a considerable stumbling block.

Defeats to Reading, Sheffield United, Leeds United and the Baggies saw them fall eight points behind in the race for the top-six.

It does not signal a poor season by any means, but it is a run of form that could trigger some rather unwanted summer business.

Preston have some very impressive operators, none more so than midfielder Alan Browne.

The 24-year-old has been an ever-present and crucial member of the side this season, racking 11 goals and four assists, making him the club’s top goalscorer.

It has not been a fluke either. In his time with Preston, the Irishman has scored 28 goals in 202 appearances, assisting nine as well.

The worry for Preston lies in his expiring contract, which runs out in June.

Browne will now know that he should be challenging at the top of the Championship at least.

This latest bid for promotion collapsing could therefore prove to be rather damaging for North End.

The midfielder will presumably be going into contract negotiations soon, if he has not started them already, and he could be very hard to persuade to stick around.

One promotion bid falling short can ultimately be forgiven, but with it now happening twice, it may indicate that Browne is best suited to moving on.

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