Preston added two more players to their squad before the transfer window slammed shut as Ali McCann and Josh Murphy joined the club.
With no other outgoings since Tom Bayliss leaving on loan to join Wigan Athletic, it leaves the club with an inflated squad.
Preston are only allowed to register 25 players in the squad from now until January, when the next transfer window re-opens.
Any players who were born on or after the 1st January 2000 do not have to be registered, which means players under 21 like Lewis Leigh and Joe Rodwell-Grant do not have to be submitted in the official 25 man squad but can still feature for the team. Adam O’Reilly and Jack Baxter also fall into that category among others.
Unfortunately Izzy Brown will be injured for the majority of this season at least so will not need to be registered. That still leaves a squad of 28 players though, so three will have to be cut.
There are a few Preston players who will be worried about sitting on the sidelines for the next few months…
Preston have plenty of players in the goalkeeping department. Daniel Iversen and Declan Rudd are the main two, with Ripley and Matthew Hudson providing further backup. There’s also Oliver Lombard as well who signed professional terms in the summer but is just 18.
Ripley will have surely been a player Frankie McAvoy would have liked to have offloaded in the window. He’s never been a regular and has looked shaky in a lot of the games he’s appeared in. A mutual termination may be agreed with him to give him a chance to move somewhere on a free transfer. Matthew Hudson could find himself in a similar position. Lombard could be the number three without having ever to be called upon.
Another who probably should have been moved on is Joe Rafferty. He’s been a versatile player in his two-and-a-half years with the club but never looked like nailing down a first-team place. He’s 28 next month and his contract is up at the end of the season. There is limited resale value on him and he simply isn’t required this season.
At left-back we have Greg Cunningham, Josh Earl and Andrew Hughes as well as younger players. Whilst on the right hand side we have Matthew Olusunde, Sepp van den Berg and Alan Browne and Tom Barkhuizen could fit in there too. Rafferty has been a solid servant for the club, but his time may be up.
A player who has split the opinion of the North End faithful in his four years at the club. He arrived to much fanfare from Manchester United in 2017 but was hampered in his second season with a cruciate ligament injury. His third season was his best yet, scoring eight goals in 36 games. However last season he went on loan to Ipswich Town in League One but didn’t pull up any trunks there.
He signed a new contract last summer tying him down to 2023, and is thought to be on a decent wage at the club. Personally I think Josh Harrop is one of the most talented players at the club, and has rarely been given a consistent run in the side. Capable of playing out wide or as a number 10 though, he may find it hard to get in this side.
There’s a few players ahead of him in the number 10 role, and we don’t really play wingers. Having said that he was on the bench at the weekend, and at the very least could be a plan B to bring on.
Thomas only joined in the summer from Bamber Bridge but with such a big squad he’s going to find it tough to get on the pitch. He’s barely featured in the matchday squad so far, and like with Harrop, he’s competing against Alan Browne, Daniel Johnson, and Brad Potts for the number 10 spot.
It was a fairytale story and I do hope he gets a chance. There’s just simply too many players in the squad at the moment, and a couple are going to find themselves very unlucky.