Preston have yet to really see the best of Tom Bayliss, and the midfielder could now be loaned out for the coming season.
Football Insider report that Bayliss has been told he can find a new club and head out on loan until next summer.
Clubs in League One and the Championship are believed to be keen on signing Bayliss, with the 22-year-old now expected to head elsewhere.
Bayliss ended the season with a first Championship start and a goal against Nottingham Forest, so that left Preston fans hopeful that he would have a real breakthrough season this term.
This loan rumour puts paid to those ideas, and in truth, this looks to be a major risk over the £1.2million talent.
Loaning him out isn’t the problem. In truth, loaning him out for the last two seasons should have been a priority given his lack of playing time.
No, it’s more Preston’s lack of depth in midfield that is the problem.
Preston have midfielders, but few of them are naturals in playing in front of the back four or in a two-man midfield.
Ryan Ledson and Ben Whiteman are the top choices there and are the most naturals players in those roles in Frankie McAvoy’s 3-4-1-2 setup.
Bayliss is another, but is he goes out on loan, it becomes a case of plugging square pegs into round holes.
Alan Browne has played there, but is better utilised further forward. He’s great at breaking into the box from a number 10 role, not so much when it comes to progressing play from deep.
The same goes for Brad Potts, whilst Daniel Johnson’s playmaking ability is again better utilised further forward; his defensive ability isn’t quite suited for playing in a two-man midfield.
If the plan is to get Bayliss out playing first-team action elsewhere whilst bringing in a natural holding player, such as a Regan Slater, then this does make sense.
If Bayliss is going without a replacement, Preston’s midfield options suddenly don’t look too clever – and that would be a very risky strategy.