Preston North End will certainly look a different side when they line-up for the opening game of next season, with new boss Ryan Lowe expected to really sift through the squad during the off-season.
The Lilywhites have 14 players who will be out of contract when the season comes to a close and have plenty more who they see as surplus to requirements. It means there could be plenty of incomings and outgoings over the next few months at Deepdale.
It’s no surprise to see the rumour mill already turning then when it comes to potential PNE signings. One name who has already been linked is Jack Iredale at Cambridge, who is also being tracked by Wigan and Bolton according to Lancs Live. His own boss expects him to depart and Preston could be his next destination.
Quiz: What club do these 25 players from the Preston North End 2016/17 squad play for now?
The 25-year-old has been solid in League One this season so far, with 33 league games producing one goal, two assists and a string of top level performances.
It wouldn’t be a surprise to see him move up to the Championship then in the off-season – but PNE should perhaps look elsewhere for defensive additions.
Ryan Lowe likes to deploy two wing-backs as part of his system. Any Preston fan already this season has already seen what playing a regular full-back in that role can do – it just doesn’t work as well. Joe Rafferty, Matthew Olosunde and Josh Earl are three examples who have all fallen by the wayside because of their inability to fill the role efficiently.
Greg Cunningham has filled it slightly better but he too is not perfect in the role and Brad Potts on the other flank is doing a decent stand-in job but doesn’t fit the requirements himself. It is a very specific role that needs filling – and Iredale, as a left-back, might not fit the criteria either.
If that is the case – and he may have to be coached into doing more wing-back type duties – then it could be a fruitless signing. Even if he was added as cover in the centre at the back, there are plenty of options that North End already have there too.
When you consider that Jordan Storey will also be returning – after an excellent stint with Sheffield Wednesday no less – he would probably be further up in the pecking order at the back than Iredale would.
All in all, Iredale could be a shrewd move for another Championship club – Preston just might not be the right one for him.