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Preston's contract decision over Tom Barkhuizen should be an easy one

Much like last summer, Preston have some contract decisions to make.

Ben Davies and Ben Pearson were both sold inside the final year of their contracts having failed to agree new terms.

This summer, Preston face decisions over the likes of Scott Sinclair and Brad Potts, who will be out of contract in 2022.

Tom Barkhuizen joins them on that particular list, but it should be a relatively simple decision to keep him at Deepdale.

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Signed from Morecambe in January 2017, Barkhuizen has been a mainstay of the Preston side for more than four years now.

He’s now racked up almost 200 appearances for North End, bagging 38 goals and 19 assists in the famous white shirt.

Barkhuizen turns 28 this summer, so some may feel that there would be limited resale value from giving him an extension.

Barkhuizen is though an important member of the squad at North End. His pace is unmatched in the Preston squad, and a lot of the work he does off the ball tends to go unnoticed.

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Another thing to think about his versatility. Barkhuizen is a winger by trade, but he played as a wing back under Frankie McAvoy and then up front with Ched Evans against Derby County, producing a superb display.

Having a player who can fill so many roles in the team – especially when it’s somebody who can play as a wing back or as a striker – is incredibly valuable.

Look at the way McAvoy altered the side when he took interim charge; getting the ball into the box quicker, utilising the long throw-in more than Alex Neil ever did.

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Barkhuizen was the man hurling the ball into the box, giving Preston another weapon that hadn’t been fully tapped into before.

The former Blackpool man signed a two-year extension in 2019, and doing the same again, tying Barkhuizen down until 2024, may be the way to go here.

Barkhuizen may not be everybody’s cup of tea, but he offers plenty to this Preston side and should be kept for the foreseeable future.

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