Former Preston North End goalkeeper Sam Johnstone has been taking a look back at his days with North End on Twitter this morning.
The current West Bromwich Albion shot stopper joined North End from former club Manchester United back in 2015 as he helped Preston win promotion into the Championship via the League One play-offs.
With the EFL currently suspended until April 30th, football clubs are having to come up with new ways to entertain their masses of followers through the week and into the weekend. This morning, North End celebrated ‘International Day of Happiness’ by posting the highlights of that famous play-off final win over Swindon Town.
— Preston North End FC (@pnefc) March 20, 2020
It isn’t just social media managers that are having to find something new to do to pass the time, but it appears that the stars of the EFL are too as they try to make the time go a lot quicker. Johnston was a key part of the Preston team during the 2014/2015 campaign for the Deepdale side has he made 22 appearances over the second half of the season, including the play-off final. The West Brom goalkeeper looks back at his time at Deepdale with fond memories as he tweeted the following in response to North End:
— sam johnstone (@samjohnstone50) March 20, 2020
The game, which saw Preston promoted back into the Championship, ended 4-0 to the Lilywhites as they seriously impressed against Swindon Town at Wembley. Jermaine Beckford got the ball rolling just three minutes in when he connected with a Paul Gallagher free kick, that goal set the tone in what would prove to be a difficult afternoon for the Robins.
The lead was doubled later in the first half when Paul Huntington nipped in ahead of Wes Foderingham and placed the ball into the net. The third goal came before the half time whistle as Beckford got his second of the afternoon, his curled effort found the corner and killed any chance of a potential Swindon fightback. The tie was completed when Beckford completed his hat-trick as he raced through on goal and slotted the ball home.
QUIZ: These 15 players have played for both Preston and Burnley- True of false?
Johnstone has gone on to do great things since he left Deepdale in the summer of 2015. He returned to the Lilywhites on a short-term loan in December of the same year as he made four appearances during his second stint with the club. From there he joined Aston Villa and spent 18 months on loan with the West Midlands side, helping them reach a Championship play-off final in the process.
Following his stint at Villa Park, he swapped Villa for Albion as he finally left Manchester United, signing on a four-year deal with West Brom. The former England U20 has impressed during his spell so far at the Hawthorns, helping his side to the play-off semi finals last season, but it looks as if he may go one better this season and secure automatic promotion to the Premier League.
North End fans will love that one of their promotion winning side still looks back on his time with the club with fond memories, especially a player like Johnstone who was born in the city. His career has really taken off since his spell with the Lilywhites as he has consistently been one of the best performing goalkeepers in the Championship over the last three years.
The fruits for his hard work are finally showing as he is an integral part to the squad at West Brom as they look to end their stay in the second tier of English football. Johnstone is just one of many players who has been brave by leaving a club of huge stature to try and put his imprint on the game.
A lot of young players will be happy to stay and play U23 football for the top clubs without experiencing life out on loan, playing for points that mean something. Johnstone has had ten loans already in his career with seven different clubs and this experience is starting to show as he looks to become a Premier League footballer with West Brom.