With pre-season set to get underway, Preston North End have done the majority of their incoming transfer business before the Championship season starts.
Hull City will visit Deepdale on August 7 after a year away from the Championship, and last season saw North End have their biggest change in a while and something happened that is very rare in recent times for the club – they sacked a manager.
Alex Neil’s reign came to the end of its course and replacing him is his former assistant Frankie McAvoy, who made a big impression in his caretaker reign at the end of last season, losing just one out of his eight games in charge.
He’s secured the permanent signings of Liam Lindsay, Matthew Olosunde and Izzy Brown along with another loan deal for Sepp van den Berg, but there’s other things that will be in the offing that he will want to get done before the start of the 2021-22 campaign – let’s look at THREE situations that the Scot will want sorted.
After Declan Rudd suffered a season-ending knee injury in January, North End swooped to bring in big Danish stopper Daniel Iversen from Leicester City after he spent much of the first half of the campaign on the bench of Belgian side OH Leuven.
Iversen proved to be a revelation for the Lilywhites, playing 23 times and keeping nine clean sheets but it was his shot-stopping abilities that were the most impressive out of everything.
With Rudd now fit for pre-season it was interesting to see what PNE were going to do about potentially getting Iversen back for a full campaign – and according to LancsLive there is a ‘verbal agreement‘ in place to do a deal for the 23-year-old.
North End are now just waiting for Leicester’s international goalkeepers Kasper Schmeichel and Danny Ward to get back into training with the Foxes, and only then will they give the green light for Iversen to return to Deepdale but it should be done before August 7.
How well do you know Preston North End’s celebrity supporters? – Can you score 20/20?
A new striker
PNE look quite well stocked in most positions but one area that could do with some investment is their strikers.
With McAvoy looking to start the season with a 3-5-2 system, you’d imagine that natural wingers Scott Sinclair and Tom Barkhuizen will be battling with Ched Evans, Emil Riis and Sean Maguire for those two starting spots up top.
North End have the quantity but do they have the quality? It’s debatable especially when there was a real lack of goals between the five of them all of last season.
Fans want owner Trevor Hemmings to invest in a quality striker and no doubt McAvoy and the recruitment team will be eyeing a few names up, and it’ll be really disappointing if no-one comes in before the Hull City clash.
Big things were expected of Harrop when he turned down a new Manchester United contract in 2017 to sign for North End on a four-year deal.
The hype however hasn’t really been capitalised on though – there’s no doubting that Harrop has been unlucky at times especially after suffering a bad knee injury in 2018, but after signing a new deal until 2023 last summer Alex Neil rarely played him and he was sent out on loan to League One side Ipswich Town in January.
Harrop failed to impress though and with North End having at least four players ahead of Harrop in the pecking order when it comes to playing in the attacking midfield position, his days look to be numbered.
Due to his contract situation it feels as though a loan for Harrop would be the only solution to get him away from Deepdale and then the situation can be re-assessed next summer, but it would be a real shock if he’s still at the club by the end of the transfer window.