There’s no question that Preston North End’s in form player at the moment is Ched Evans. His six goals in seven games have been crucial over the last six weeks or so.
His last minute winner was wildly celebrated against Stoke City on Monday and it’s not the first time his goals have grabbed Preston all three points this season. His brace against Reading live on Sky Sports was enough to get a 2-1 victory and those were his first goals for nearly a year.
In the first game after the Christmas break he put in another man of the match performance against Blackburn Rovers as The Lilywhites triumphed 4-1 over their Lancashire rivals.
Some of his goals have been very well taken as well with some lovely headers. The former Fleetwood Town man is heading into the final six months of his contract and he’d be keen to extend his stay at the club. He’s on course for his best season since 2018/19 when 17 league goals for The Cod Army.
The Welshman turned 34 on the 28th December and his pace went some time ago. However it’s his battling qualities and his aerial ability that have been the foundations of his recent form. Evans pointed to his badge as he walked down the tunnel at Stoke after full time. He’s said that was his greatest moment in a Preston North End shirt.
There’s no doubting he’d sign an extension in a heartbeat if he was offered one. With his age it’s only likely to be a year’s extension. He maybe able to attract a two-year deal in League One or Two but he definitely feels he’s got more to give at this level.
Preston must be careful though. Let’s not forget his last season with the club. He scored just two goals in 23 games last season and nearly went a year without a goal before breaking his duck for this campaign.
A reshuffle of the front line is needed anyway in the summer. Sean Maguire’s contract is up and I can’t see that being extended personally. Troy Parrott’s loan spell will be up and Emil Riis could attract attention from elsewhere as well.
Evans does give us a different option to everyone else and he does set an example on the pitch. It’s unclear how many games he can manage consecutively given the role he plays. Ryan Lowe always says he’s battered and bruised after every game and we don’t want next season to be one with Evans spent in the medical room too often.
At the start of this season he came on against Wigan Athletic on the opening day and was sent off after eight minutes. I didn’t think he had a chance of another contract even at the start of November. No one would have predicted the turnaround.
This season he’s scored a goal every 155 minutes compared to one 668 last season. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the club announce a new deal for Evans within the next month.