Preston North End defender Josh Earl has completed a somewhat surprise move to League One outfit Fleetwood Town – merely hours after reports suggested he could be a potential exit at Deepdale this summer.
LancsLive reported that the 23-year-old could depart the Lilywhites in the coming months, having missed out on Ryan Lowe’s squad seven times in the final 10 Championship matches of the 2021-22 season.
Things have progressed very swiftly though, as North End have agreed to cancel the final year of the academy graduate’s contract so he can join Scott Brown’s revolution at the Cod Army.
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Earl has penned a two-year deal at Highbury, having played previously in the third tier of English football during loan spells at Bolton Wanderers, Ipswich Town and Burton Albion.
The left-back, who can also play as a centre-back, played 74 times in all competitions for North End during his time at the club, scoring just the once, and featured 29 times in the Championship for PNE this past season as well.
It’s perhaps a surprise how Earl’s PNE career has turned out considering how he burst onto the scene in 2017.
A fresh-faced 18-year-old at the time, made an impact in the short-term, but he never quite kicked on and his loan stints at various clubs in League One never quite amounted to anything.
Frankie McAvoy used him as a regular at wing-back at the start of last season, but it became clear that he wasn’t quite for Ryan Lowe’s liking, and his lack of appearances in the last 10 matches of the campaign spoke volumes.
Earl now has the chance to kick on at Fleetwood, where he could end up back in the Championship if he develops under Scott Brown.