Preston North End are moving forward with plans for next season despite not being safe from relegation just yet by tying Ched Evans down to a new two-year contract.
Eyebrows were raised aplenty in January when it was announced that the Lilywhites had taken the 32-year-old on loan from League One side Fleetwood Town for the rest of the season, with the striker having a fall-out with then-manager Joey Barton.
Evans had scored five goals this season for the Cod Army but it would be a big ask for the striker to lead the line for North End, and he barely got off the bench in January.
Alex Neil gave him a chance from the start though in February and he’s led the line surprisingly well for PNE, using his strength and ability to bring others into play to full effect.
Evans has also scored three times for North End – not exactly prolific but he’s added a little goal threat to a side that haven’t been the most consistent scorers this season.
Let’s take a look at one winner and one loser at PNE out of this new contract for Evans.
WINNER: Brad Potts
Potts is one of those players that divides opinion – some fans like his work ethic and his ability to get up and down the pitch, whilst others think he is wasteful and doesn’t do enough on the ball.
However because of Evans’ ability to hold the ball up at the top end of the pitch, Potts looks far more effective in and around the box, as he showed at Swansea away when he had a number of efforts on goal without putting any away.
Potts is definitely more effective for North End away from Deepdale and that’s when he and Evans link up the best, so the former Blackpool and Barnsley midfielder will no doubt be happy that he’s signed on for another two years.
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LOSER: Emil Riis
Riis was an exciting addition back in October, and PNE fans were hoping that he’d be the answer to all their striking problems.
After a few impressive performances after signing without hitting the back of the net, supporters believed they still had an exciting asset, but he’s scored just twice in the league this season and spent more time on the bench under Alex Neil than on the pitch.
The Dane hasn’t netted since December but has been getting more minutes under caretaker head coach Frankie McAvoy, starting all three games in his tenure.
But if a new man comes in for next season, Riis could find himself down the pecking order again – especially if he doesn’t find the back of the net soon.