Preston defied expectations this afternoon with a 1-1 home draw against Aston Villa.
With a threadbare, injury-hit squad, North End battled to a draw and could have taken all three points.
Ahmed Elmohamady’s own goal rescued a point for North End, after Tammy Abraham had put Villa in front.
Alex Neil’s squad is so thin right now that youth team stars Adam O’Reilly, Jack Baxter and Ethan Walker were all on the bench again.
O’Reilly and Walker both came on as substitutes late in the day, with Walker breaking a club record.
At 16 years and 156 days old, Walker became the youngest ever player to feature in a league game for the Lilywhites.
@Ethanwalker_7 becomes the youngest player to play a league game for Preston North End, after making his debut this afternoon aged 16 years and 156 days.— Preston North End FC (@pnefc) December 29, 2018
Fantastic achievement for the @pnefcacademy youngster! #pnefc pic.twitter.com/mJSEvJSzLM
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There is real excitement about the young striker after some rave reviews in the youth team this season.
His debut today – even if only for a matter of minutes – highlighted how the North End staff think of the homegrown talent.
After the game, ex-North End forward Neil Mellor took to Twitter to wish Walker luck after making his debut.
Mellor added that Walker’s choice of number 33, Mellor’s old number, was a ‘great’ selection – and Walker will be hoping to become a first-team star in the years to come.
Well done and good luck to you Ethan. Great squad number selection #33 https://t.co/tLHc62SsXD— Neil Mellor (@NeilMellor33) December 29, 2018