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Preston North End transfer talking points: Interest in Riis? Potential Harrop departure and areas to address?



Preston North End’s final week of football before the last international break of 2021 started well but finished terribly after a 3-0 drubbing by Nottingham Forest at the City Ground.

Wins over Luton Town and a previously unbeaten AFC Bournemouth saw North End rise up the table somewhat, only to crash back down to reality at the hands of Steve Cooper’s side.

There is a general apathy at the club right now relating to a number of different things and with chairman Craig Hemmings revealing this week that any transfer funds made in the future will be re-invested back into the team.

Quiz: 28 questions about some of Preston North End’s most expensive signings – Can you score 100% on this?

1 of 28

Which club was Neil Mellor signed from?

That has got fans looking ahead to the upcoming January transfer windows – let’s look at a few talking points that may need to be addressed when 2022 arrives.

Potential Emil Riis interest

The January window always gets some teams in the top flight in panic mode, especially when it comes to strikers and North End know a lot about that when Jordan Hugill headed to West Ham in 2018 on deadline day for a club-record fee.

Clubs always look to in-form Championship strikers and in Emil Riis, PNE look to finally have a a player who has the ability to potentially break that 20-goal a season barrier.

The Dane isn’t the finished article by a long shot – he could improve so much on certain things like when he’s one-on-one with a goalkeeper, but he’s scored some fantastic goals on instinct this season where his tally stands on 11.

Could Premier League teams be interested in the 23-year-old? He’s just extended his contract until 2025 but that doesn’t mean PNE will have a ‘not for sale at any price’ sign over him.

Josh Harrop to finally depart?

It seemed like a strange decision to extend Josh Harrop’s contract in the summer of 2020 after having an indifferent 2019-20 campaign for PNE, and even stranger was the fact he’s hardly played a part since that new deal.

The ex-Man United man spent the second half of last season with Ipswich Town after just five Championship outings for the Lilywhites and he wasn’t selected in North End’s 25-man squad by Frankie McAvoy.

Updates on Harrop have been very sparse – he’s not been appearing in reserve team games which suggests an injury but regardless January is a big month for the 25-year-old as he surely has to move on from Deepdale to salvage his career.

He still has well over a year remaining on his contract so it may have to be a loan to League One, but he needs to exit the club for game-time.

Where do PNE need to improve?

After 17 matches, North End sit in 17th position on 21 points, which is not where they want to be with the likes of Fulham to play this month still.

Looking at the bigger picture though, the Lilywhites are just five points from the play-offs which tells you everything about the lack of quality in the Championship this season.

PNE have some talented individuals – Riis, Ali McCann, Ben Whiteman, Daniel Johnson, Sepp van den Berg, Daniel Iversen – it could be continued but they’re just very inconsistent as a team right now.

So where do they need to add? Sean Maguire has provided a decent foil to Riis this season up-front but hasn’t scored any goals and neither has Scott Sinclair either, and with Ched Evans injured for most of the season a bigger unit up top could be required.

When the squad is fully-fit North End have strength in depth in most areas of the pitch so it’s hard to say apart from a striker where they need to add, but players may have to depart anyway before any incomings occur.

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

ScoopDragon Football News Network

Article title: Preston North End transfer talking points: Interest in Riis? Potential Harrop departure and areas to address?

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