Preston North End are going about their business this summer already and have tied up deals for two players already, with more in the pipeline.
Frankie McAvoy will start the 2021-22 season as the permanent head coach after an impressive run of results at the back end of the past campaign, and he’s brought back some of his star players from that stint.
Liam Lindsay signed permanently from Stoke City last week and also returning is Sepp van den Berg, who has rejoined from Liverpool but this time for a full season.
Daniel Iversen is widely expected to rejoin from Leicester City, and moves for an attacking midfielder and right-back are likely to be completed soon enough.
You’d imagine some players will be moved on though in the coming weeks as the numbers may become too big in the squad – let’s look at two players who will surely be searching for a new club before the new campaign begins.
With Iversen’s return said to be verbally agreed, it means that North End will have five goalkeepers on the books when the Dane’s return is confirmed.
Iversen and Declan Rudd will battle for the starting spot, and in behind are Connor Ripley, Mathew Hudson and Oliver Lombard, who has just signed his first professional deal.
Ripley was a January 2019 signing from Middlesbrough after impressing at Accrington Stanley on loan, but he’s done nothing of note for PNE when he has been called upon and played just once in the league last season – on the opening day against Swansea City.
The general consensus amongst fans is that Ripley isn’t good enough and with just a year left on his contract, he won’t be staying at the Lilywhites beyond next summer regardless.
It would make sense for PNE to try and find him a new club with Hudson being third choice – he needs to think about his future as well though having not made a senior appearance for the club since 2015.
Quiz: Did each of these 20 midfielders ever score a goal for Preston North End?
Harrop was brought to the world’s attention on the final day of the 2016-17 season as he scored on his Manchester United debut in the Premier League – despite a new contract being on offer to him at Old Trafford though he opted for a four-year deal at North End.
The last four years has seen Harrop show some promise – as well as picking up a bad knee injury in 2018 – but he’s definitely not lived up to the potential that was promised.
After 38 appearances in the 2019-20 season which returned five goals, Harrop signed a new deal until 2023 last summer but Alex Neil rarely used him in the first half of the 2020-21 campaign.
Seeking game-time, Harrop joined League One side Ipswich Town on loan but in 15 matches he made little impact and ended the season goalless.
With North End having a wealth of attacking midfield options and another seemingly coming in soon, Harrop will likely be cast adrift, but the issue is he’s signed up for two more years and will probably be on a decent wage.
It may be another loan deal that has to be done but regardless it would be a shock if the 25-year-old is at Deepdale at the start of the season.