After a drubbing at the hands of Nottingham Forest last weekend, the international break probably came at the right time for Preston North End.
The Lilywhites were comprehensively beaten by Steve Cooper’s side and there will have no doubt been an inquest into what went wrong, but it’s fair to say that the majority of supporters were not pleased with what they witnessed at the City Ground.
There has been lots of fall-out from that match with club captain Alan Browne taking a stand following a portion of the crowd’s reaction to Brad Potts being substituted and following major fan apathy over the weekend, director Peter Ridsdale fronted the media to discuss the latest club goings on.
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It’s certainly been a busy week at Deepdale – let’s round up the latest bits of news.
North End duo closing in on new deals
With a good chunk of PNE’s squad out of contract at the end of the 2021-22 season, moves have already been made to try and tie down some to extended deals.
Jordan Storey and Brad Potts in recent months have secured fresh contracts and per Ridsdale’s addressing of the media this week, North End are in negotiations with three more first-teamers regarding new deals.
Two are said to be close whilst negotiations continue with a third man, and North End fans are hoping that two of the trio who are in talks are Patrick Bauer and Andrew Hughes, with Tom Barkhuizen confirmed to be one by Ridsdale.
The former two have been a big part of PNE’s defence this season whilst Barkhuizen has forced his way back into the starting line-up after recovering from COVID – although he suggested earlier in the season that nothing was close in regards to a new deal.
Riis on Denmark’s radar
It will come as no surprise that Emil Riis’ early-season form is attracting attention – n0-less from the coaching staff of the Denmark national team.
The 22-year-old has scored 11 goals in all competitions so far and the Lilywhites striker this week revealed that Denmark’s assistant manager has been in touch to reveal that he’s close to being called-up.
It hasn’t happened just yet for Riis as he didn’t make it into the squad for the November internationals, and he has tough competition with the likes of Yussuf Poulsen, Andreas Cornelius, Martin Braithwaite and Kasper Dolberg to contend with but Riis has time on his side in the next few years.
Premier League outfit sniffing round academy star
North End have failed to make the most of their academy stars in years gone by with hardly any coming through into the first-team and being a regular – Josh Earl the most recent one to do so.
Tyrhys Dolan could have been one of those players but he was let go of in 2020 and picked up by Blackburn Rovers and we know what he’s gone on to do for the Ewood Park club.
PNE are seemingly learning their lesson after tying down Noah Mawene and Josh Seary to early professional contracts – the latter had Premier League interest in his signature and top clubs are seemingly looking at North End’s academy again.
An unnamed 14-year-old is the subject of interest from the top flight according to Ridsdale, with the suggestion that the club in question are trying to ‘tap-up’ the teenager.
It will be interesting to see if PNE can hold onto him or if the advances of a top side will be too much for the player to resist.