With so many deals being done in January, Preston fans would be forgiven for forgetting Adam O’Reilly’s new deal.
North End struck a total of 12 deals in the transfer window, with five arriving and seven departing. Those moves have sparked the current fine run of form, but Preston also made a move for the future.
Preston handed a first professional contract to midfielder O’Reilly, keeping him at Deepdale until 2021. A 2017 signing from Ringmahon Rangers – the club Alan Browne started with – O’Reilly looks set for a bright future.
The 17-year-old has already made his first-team debut for North End, coming on against Aston Villa in December, and his new deal summed up what Preston think of the Irishman.
That deal came just weeks after Pundit Arena in Ireland claimed there was major interest in O’Reilly’s signature. Burnley and Celtic were two clubs listed as making a move for the midfielder, with Birmingham City also keen.
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North End moved quickly after those rumours to secure O’Reilly’s future, which was one major positive that somewhat got caught in the January transfer window shuffle, with the teenager now having the platform to become a Preston regular over the coming years.
Handing O’Reilly a first pro deal has also enabled North End to loan him out without fear of him moving on at the end of his contract. Just days ago, O’Reilly joined Hyde United on a one-month loan, giving him valuable experience.
North End could have lost O’Reilly, but have instead made two great steps for his future, and whilst the contract was somewhat forgotten in January, it’s a fine move for Preston’s future.