Preston secured their first signing of the Ryan Lowe era on Monday, bringing Aston Villa striker Cameron Archer in on loan until the end of the season.
Lowe was keen to add another goal threat to his Preston squad and called on a favour from his old friend Steven Gerrard.
The goals haven’t flowed for Seani Maguire or Scott Sinclair this season, Ched Evans’ two goals have come off the bench and Emil Riis has locked short of confidence lately.
Villa boss Gerrard sanctioned Archer’s loan move to Deepdale, with the hope of the young striker developing in the Championship.
Archer did have a loan spell in non-league last season, turning out for Solihull Moors. The Championship is a big step up for him, but Archer is highly-rated at Villa Park and is being backed to shine.
The 20-year-old buried a hat-trick against Barrow in the Carabao Cup earlier this season, and when called upon against Chelsea in the same competition, Archer got on the scoresheet again.
Archer may not be quite ready for Premier League football yet, and this move to Preston gives him a platform to show what he can do.
North End travel to take on Villa’s rivals West Bromwich Albion tonight, and Archer is in contention to play.
We would expect a start from the bench tonight, but Preston fans can’t wait to see what Archer is all about.
To understand just why Archer is causing so much excitement at Villa, we spoke to Sam Tighe, who you may know from the Ranks FC podcast.
Sam noted that Archer has shades of Villa teammate Ollie Watkins in his game, praising his pace and movement in behind defences.
Sam also feels Archer can score all different types of goals, and whilst he is raw in terms of linking up play at this stage in his development, Archer is ‘really exciting’.
“You can definitely tell he’s been training and modelling his game on Ollie Watkins. Archer is really fast, makes great runs in behind and between the centre back and full back, whilst he’s also a really assured finisher with a good variety to his shooting.”
“He’s very much a number nine – we haven’t seen much from him in terms of facilitating play or holding it up – he wants the ball played ahead of him, not to feet. In really small chunks and samples at Villa, he’s been really exciting and promised a lot of potential.”
Lowe seemingly wants more pace throughout the Preston side, and this description of Archer suggests he’s exactly what North End want.