Preston North End went into the start of this week with no senior goalkeepers on the books – yet they could be about to end it with two of them through the door.
With pre-season training fully beginning next week, Ryan Lowe needed to solve his problem position out once and for all following the departures of Connor Ripley and Matty Hudson, as well as Daniel Iversen returning to Leicester City after his loan deal came to an end.
Not forgetting Declan Rudd’s injury-related retirement a few months ago as well, it left Lowe with a conundrum to solve, and he looks to have found the answers.
Freddie Woodman is the individual that has been chosen to replace Iversen, who may have potentially been available for another loan later in the window, but the Lilywhites have chosen to go with a different face on a permanent basis.
Literally 99% of Preston North End supporters should be scoring 28/28 on this Lilywhites quiz – Can you?
A back-up to Woodman is needed though thanks to the departures earlier in the summer, and it appears that David Cornell is the player in question who will provide some competition to the ex-Newcastle United man.
Per TalkSPORT’s Alex Crook, North End are closing in on the Welshman’s signature – he is a free agent after Peterborough United opted not to renew his contract.
Having played 30 times for Posh last season in the Championship, Cornell’s signing on face value looks to be a sensible one.
However, when you look at other data and the reasons why he featured, then it tells a different story.
Cornell was only ever meant to be a back-up for then-first choice Christy Pym last season, having arrived from Ipswich Town where he was used in a similar role.
But when Pym had a dressing room bust-up with manager Darren Ferguson, it left him with no choice but to use Cornell until January as it occurred outside the transfer window.
Steven Benda was then signed from Swansea City and was immediately installed as a starter, until multiple injuries meant Cornell played for the final few months of the 2021-22 campaign.
Despite having the odd impressive game, it spoke volumes that Posh opted not to renew Cornell’s contract, even after being relegated, and his Goals Prevented stats says it all.
Perhaps he can blame having a leaky defence in-front of him, but Cornell ranked the worst stopper in the division when it came to Goals Prevented – per Fotmob – his figure of -7.5 means that he let in a lot more goals than he should have done, whilst also only having a 61.5% save percentage.
If Woodman gets injured for North End, then Cornell is the goalkeeper that Lowe is set to rely upon, and that could be very dangerous looking at his stats.
There are surely better options out there in the pool of free agent goalkeepers this summer that would not mind being a back-up, and although it appears to be well down the line in terms of his pending arrival, PNE should perhaps reconsider the acquisition of Cornell in favour of others.