There was much excitement from Preston fans back in December 2017 when it was announced that they had captured striker Louis Moult from Motherwell.
Moult had been a revelation for the Scottish club, netting 38 goals in 84 Scottish Premiership games before making the move back down south of the border to join the Lilywhites in January 2018.
It turned out though that Moult wasn’t the prolific scorer that North End were looking for, as he struggled to find the back of the net and fill the boots of Jordan Hugill, who departed in the same month that Moult arrived in a £10 million deal with West Ham United.
Moult only actually made three starts in his first half-season with PNE, but his first full campaign was slightly more productive. He netted four goals in 18 games before suffering a knee injury which saw him not feature for three months – unfortunately that was a precursor of things to come.
Just three games into the 2019/20 campaign, Moult suffered a terrible cruciate ligament injury after stretching for a ball against Swansea – it was completely innocuous but the damage was done, which included a rupture and further damage to other parts of the knee, and he was expected to miss the whole season.
It has now been nearly 19 months since Moult has played a competitive game of football – he’s needed further operations to clean up his knee following the initial surgery – but he is now back on the grass at North End’s training ground, albeit in non-contact solo training sessions, and Moult shared pictures of himself on social media back in action.
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The 28-year-old now faces a race against time to be back in action before the end of the season, and it’s important for more than one reason.
Not only would it do his confidence the world of good, but Moult’s contract at North End expires this summer, and considering he’s been out of action for so long it doesn’t seem likely that he will get a new one.
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It would probably be too risky to bank on him being the same player that he was before the knee issues, and considering he wasn’t a prolific scorer before that, it’s probably fair to say he’s not got that kind of quality to be a regular scorer in the Championship.
There’s a slim chance that Moult could shock everyone and return before the end of the season and bang in the goals, but you’d have to say it’s quite unlikely – but one move that could happen is a return to his beloved Wrexham.
Moult departed the Welsh club in 2015 for Motherwell having scored 16 league goals in his sole season for them, and with their new-found riches thanks to Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney, Moult could end up back at the Racecourse Ground.
But I wouldn’t be surprised to see another Football League club take a chance on Moult, either in Leagues One or Two – he knows where the back of the net is but he would be more likely to find it on a regular basis at those levels.