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Opinion: Preston North End’s pursuit of Championship wing-back makes lots of sense despite age concerns



Ryan Lowe picked up his first loss as Preston North End manager this past weekend, but thankfully for the Lilywhites it was not in the Championship – rather the third round of the FA Cup.

In the league though they have three games in hand and the Lancashire side are within touching distance of the play-offs, but it’s never quite as simple as that and if they want to be in the top six at the end of the season then some fresh faces may be needed.

One of those could be a left-wing-back – Lowe shuffled the pack a little bit for the Cardiff game but due to a lack of options, Josh Earl kept his place on that side of the pitch but he’s not impressed lots of North End fans this season.

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Emil Riis

Despite having time to develop still at the age of 23, Earl may have to take a back seat for the rest of the season if Lowe gets his wish, as per LancsLive’s George Hodgson he revealed in his pre-Birmingham City press conference that he’d like to sign a ‘speedy left-wing-back’ this month.

And just before he revealed that, a link emerged to Swansea City’s Jake Bidwell – who has been a transfer target for PNE in the past when he left QPR in 2019.

WalesOnline believe that North End are monitoring Bidwell’s situation in South Wales closely this month as his contract is set to expire at the end of the season, with Birmingham City also doing the same.

Bidwell possesses a wealth of Championship experience with Brentford, QPR and the Swans and he’s featured 16 times under Russell Martin this season, scoring twice.

Like Lowe, Martin likes his wing-backs to play very high up the pitch and Bidwell’s seen himself getting on the end of crosses in the six-yard box – that’s the kind of attacking wing-back that Lowe wants at Deepdale.

Perhaps owing to his contract situation though, Bidwell has been on the bench for Swansea’s last three league outings as well as their FA Cup clash with Southampton, so his potential departure this month could have legs to it.

Bidwell isn’t someone you’d class as ‘speedy’ which is what Lowe is looking for ideally, but he’s certainly got legs and can put a shift in.

If there’s any down sides to a potential deal for Bidwell, it’s the fact that he turns 29 in March, meaning that North End would potentially be signing someone who has already hit their peak and he could regress from here.

More in the age range of the kind of player the club should be investing in is Wigan’s Tom Pearce who has been linked recently, but he doesn’t possess the second tier experience that Bidwell does.

Born in Southport as well – a town within the Preston postcode – Bidwell could fancy the move back to his roots after spending a long time down in the south of England and Wales and his capabilities going forward certainly make him an ideal signing for PNE this month.

25 years old, UCLan Sports Journalism graduate, Preston North End fan

ScoopDragon Football News Network

Article title: Opinion: Preston North End’s pursuit of Championship wing-back makes lots of sense despite age concerns

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