The building blocks are being put in place for Preston North End under Frankie McAvoy’s permanent role as head coach as four youth team players have penned their first professional deals.
It is a far cry from what happened at the end of the 2019/20 campaign, as not a single pro contract was handed out in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Only Ethan Walker, who had signed a deal before football was affected by the virus, graduated from the crop of youngsters and North End’s decision looked to be a foolish one months later.
That’s because Tyrhys Dolan, who was one of the more exciting players from the under-18’s, was picked up by Blackburn Rovers for their development squad initially, but quickly made their senior squad and has lit up the Championship at times – including scoring at Deepdale back in November.
The same mistakes aren’t being made this time though as North End have offered out four deals.
Strike partners Joe Rodwell-Grant and Jacob Holland-Wilkinson – the latter who was named Scholar of the Year and was named on the bench for the first team multiple times – have both signed deals for next season.
8 of these 20 players never scored a goal for Preston North End – Can you identify them?
Left-back Lewis Coulton and goalkeeper Ollie Lombard both join them on one-year deals with the option for a second year, and Lombard’s contract probably signals the end for Mathew Hudson at Deepdale, who has only made one appearance in five years and will probably move on to try and secure football elsewhere this summer.
North End fans seem pretty happy that some youth players will be getting a chance to impress and they’ve been reacting to the contract news on social media.
Golden generation pic.twitter.com/dWREDeioCX
— Jack 🧇 (@jtuckerx) May 12, 2021
Belting news, about time we made a statement and reassured the youth, just need to tie up young Mawene n’all
— Shaun Thompson (@shaunpne) May 12, 2021
North End actually making use of youth? More of this please
— Connor (@Conpne03) May 12, 2021
giving youth players professional contracts? we absolutely love to see it pic.twitter.com/5ziyE7PzLR
— Edd (@Edd_PNE) May 12, 2021
Yes Get in lads, well deserved 💙
— James (@PnefcJames) May 12, 2021
Hope they get a chance of getting into the first team!!
— Ian Cowell (@polish2016) May 12, 2021
Awesome news hopefully get a chance under Frankie
— Dean Kirkham (@23Kirkham) May 12, 2021
And we will never play them
— Carl (@CarlPNEFan) May 12, 2021
— . (@0161ppr) May 12, 2021