Preston North End will most definitely be having a busy offseason over the summer, with new boss Ryan Lowe coming in and overhauling plenty of the side that he inherited halfway through the 2021/22 Championship campaign.
When it came time to decide which players would not be kept on at the end of their deals at the end of the season, a double digit amount of names were shown the door. That includes some former first-team regulars too, like Tom Barkhuizen.
Ryan Lowe then certainly means business and is ready to reshuffle the squad and mould it to his liking and image during the summer transfer window. With plenty to do then, there will be a lot for the former Plymouth boss to think about.
Here then, are some of the dilemmas facing the club during the offseason.
Who comes in to solve their goalkeeping crisis?
At the start of the season, Preston had four goalkeepers on their books. Now, with the campaign at an end, they have zero.
There isn’t one shot-stopper currently signed on to North End, minus those in the club’s reserve side. Daniel Iversen has returned to Leicester, Declan Rudd has been forced to hang up his gloves and Connor Ripley and Matthew Hudson have both been released to find new teams.
It means that before next season starts, Ryan Lowe will most definitely need to add two new goalkeepers to the squad, if not three. With that in mind then, one dilemma for the manager to consider is which way does he head with new shot-stoppers? Does he identify an experienced keeper to come in and stay inbetween the sticks for now alongside a younger, loan option? Where does the manager also look in terms of options?
PNE have been prolific at signing talented goalkeepers on loan and using them well as their first-choice options – it seems as though that could be the route they go down again but there will definitely need to be plenty of work done in this department over summer.
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Can they bring Cameron Archer back – and if not, who comes in instead?
It’s clear that North End remain big fans of Cameron Archer, as does Ryan Lowe and after the half a season he had with the club, it’s no surprise.
The Aston Villa forward produced seven goals in 20 games for the Lilywhites and looked bright throughout his tenure at Deepdale. He ended up being one of their mainstays in attack and the club’s fans will be desperate to see him return too. Whilst they are still hopeful of a deal being done and have him as one of their main targets, his return is not guaranteed though.
If Steven Gerrard decides to keep him on at Villa Park, then Ryan Lowe will have to look elsewhere for forward options. The club need extra players in attack and will need to make that one of their main areas of need this summer – and if Archer isn’t coming back through the door, then they will need to find someone else who will.
Again, that won’t be easy but it is a dilemma that Lowe will need to solve.
Who can fill the wing-back role that Ryan Lowe wants?
Ryan Lowe has a certain style of football that he likes to play and a certain formation that he likes to use and it got the job done for him at Plymouth.
He will likely try to achieve similar with PNE at Deepdale but with the lack of wing-back options that the club have, it is a lot more difficult to do so. They’ve had to pull players out of position and use full-backs as wing-backs to no avail so far too.
Now that Lowe has the chance to shake up his squad during the transfer window, the manager will want to try and bring in members of the team who can come in and fill in that role on both flanks. North End have very little in terms of faces who can do that currently so he will have a job on his hands this summer in recruiting plenty of options.
It is a very niche role too, so he will have to do plenty of research and digging – and once he finds a player he likes, then he will have to do the hard work and try and convince them to join.