It’s become clear that one of Preston North End’s priorities in this transfer window is the left-wing back position.
Josh Earl hasn’t cut the mustard of late, and with Andrew Hughes and Greg Cunningham being used as a left sided centre halves there is an opening in the squad.
There has already been a link to Wigan Athletic’s Tom Pearce, whose contract is set to run out at the end of the season.
Ryan Lowe likes to play with attacking players and unfortunately Josh Earl looks out of his depth when he enters the final third.
He’s got pace, and he’s a strong player but his decision making is poor, and his crossing isn’t of a good enough standard.
On Saturday in Carlisle United’s 2-0 win over Bradford City in League Two, there was a left-back who picked up the assist for both goals.
Jack Armer was released by Preston in 2020 but has settled into life in Cumbria with the League Two side.
He’s made 52 appearances for the side in the last 18 months after being told his first-year professional deal at North End wasn’t being extended.
Of course it’s been tough for any youth players to break through into the first-team setup at Deepdale, with players like Jack Baxter, Adam O’Reilly and Ethan Walker having to settle for loan deals to get games under their belt.
Earl was one of the last to break through but he hasn’t progressed as well as we would have liked over the last few years. Armer might not have been ready to fit straight into this team, but he may have been worth keeping to develop further.
Carlisle tend to play a 4-4-2 formation so the 20 year-old hasn’t been given complete freedom of the left-hand side this season. Speaking to Lancs Live in the summer, the Preston supporter said he felt he had a point to prove by getting back up to the Championship level.
“I’ve still got a point to prove in terms of getting back up to the Championship and playing as high as I can.
I was out-on-loan and the non-league schedule was pretty hectic, so I was hardly ever with the first-team other than the odd bounce game. There wasn’t much chance to show what you could do and there aren’t many 17/18 year-olds who play in the Championship, unless they’re exceptionally good.”
It would be nice to see a few younger players have an opportunity in the first team under Lowe as we have seen minimal chances given under the previous regimes.