Preston’s youth record hasn’t been ideal in recent times, but Alex Neil appears to have high hopes for some of North End’s teenage talent.
The likes of Tyrhys Dolan and Tyler Williams have earned Championship deals despite being released by North End at the end of last season.
Josh Earl and Ben Davies have at least played plenty of Championship football under Neil, and a few young players are popping up around the first team.
Ethan Walker played against Everton in pre-season before being loaned out to Carlisle United, Adam O’Reilly was on the bench against Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday, and both Aaron Bennett and Lewis Coulton have been spotted around the first team.
Some eagle-eyed fans may have spotted another youngster in first-team training in yesterday’s warm-up, as Jacob Holland-Wilkinson joined in with the senior squad.
The 18-year-old has yet to make his first-team debut, but he has shown promise before – including a 12-minute hat-trick against Port Vale in an Under-18 game last December.
Holland-Wilkinson’s father Simon posted clips of Holland-Wilkinson taking part in the pre-match shooting drills, including one fine finish to find the net.
Let’s hope that Holland-Wilkinson – who was born in Bury and joined North End on the recommendation of Joe Rodwell-Grant’s father – can earn more first-team training opportunities and eventually emerge into the first-team setup.