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Opinion: Do Preston North End give this 28-year-old a chance beyond January or does his future lie elsewhere?

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It’s no secret that Preston were on the hunt for fresh faces in attack over summer and after struggling to locate many fitting signings for that position, they ended up turning to free agent Connor Wickham.

The 28-year-old is a player with top tier experience, who has scored goals in both the Premier League and Championship. The Lilywhites were happy to turn to him as a new option and give him a chance to finally get firing.

However, rather than becoming a useful squad option, he hit a bump in the road straight away. After a small cameo against West Brom in September, he was given another chance in the cup against Cheltenham, only for the striker to pick up an injury.

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That injury could see the forward ruled out until the new year, which is a huge blow for both the player and the club that took a chance on him. But should the club look to give him another chance beyond January or cut ties with him?

North End are still short on options in attack, so any additional striking help they can get would be beneficial. Wickham may have been up and down in his career so far but there is nothing to say that giving some extra action at Deepdale he wouldn’t finally thrive.

They also have similar, older options like Ched Evans available to them. Wickham may be more injury prone but Evans has been sidelined too this year, is further on in his career and has failed to make much of an impact in the second tier this campaign whereas Wickham hasn’t had the chance to prove what he can do.

He also is unlikely to cost much to keep him on compared to other options, especially considering his former status as a free agent. It perhaps then would be only fair to keep him on beyond his recovery, just to see what he can offer to the side – and he could reward the faith put in him with goals.

However, if we look at the flip side, there are also some negatives to keeping him on at Preston.

Right now, the PNE squad is overloaded with players. In fact, there are so many faces at the club that a number of them haven’t even been registered yet. So it begs the question, why keep on a player who is sidelined and could get crocked again when the winter window opens and there is the opportunity to free up a space for a player they could sign in January?

That also leads on to the fact that during the winter window, PNE could find another attacking option to replace him – one that could be younger, less prone to injury and with better resale value too.

If they can find one, then it’s likely Wickham would find himself further down the pecking order. If that is the case, then he may be best cutting his losses and finding regular football elsewhere when his recovery is done.

The real shame is not having the player prove himself before his current deal expires. If he could get back to fitness before the turn of the year, then it would allow North End to have a good look at him and see if it is worth keeping him on or not. As it stands though, that prospect is unlikely – and if that is the case, then they may be forced to cut ties with him anyway as they need to clear out some of their packed squad to make space for fresh signings in the winter window.


Writer for Football League World.

ScoopDragon Football News Network

Article title: Opinion: Do Preston North End give this 28-year-old a chance beyond January or does his future lie elsewhere?

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