Preston North End take on Blackburn Rovers at Deepdale tonight, which means a potential return for Tyrhys Dolan.

Winger Dolan, 18, was in the youth ranks at Preston after spells with Manchester City and Burnley, and looked set for a bright future.

He showed real talent at North End, and whilst he is small and diminutive, he is quick and skilful; two traits that could have made him a star at Deepdale.

Surprisingly though, Preston chose not to give Dolan a professional contract, and released him in the summer when his scholarship came to an end.


Blackburn Rovers v Wycombe Wanderers - Sky Bet Championship
Photo by Rachel Holborn – BRFC/Getty Images

Blackburn Rovers pounced to sign Dolan, with ex-North End defender Ryan Kidd overseeing his move to Ewood Park in a switch that left Preston fans gutted.

Dolan has shown quality in the Rovers side, scoring twice in 10 Championship games this season, though his playing time has dipped since Harvey Elliott’s arrival.

The teenager may well be a substitute tonight, but he has a chance to show Preston what they’re missing – and Alex Neil has spoken to Lancs Live about his exit.

Neil has admitted that he is pleased to see Dolan thriving at Rovers as he wants anyone working under him to have a great career, but just feels that Preston didn’t have room for him when the decision came about his contract – and feels the global pandemic didn’t help matters.

Blackburn Rovers v Wycombe Wanderers - Sky Bet Championship
Photo by Rachel Holborn – BRFC/Getty Images

“Of course (I’m pleased for the lad),” said Neil. “I’ve said this before – my job, whether the lads continue to play here or elsewhere, is to try and make sure all the footballers I work with have careers in the game.”

“I take great pride and pleasure in watching them go on, whether we’ve sold them on or whether it’s because they’ve not had the game time here and we’ve had to let them go elsewhere. I don’t think any manager or coach would have any sort of undue feelings towards anyone, I’m delighted for the lad that he’s got a team and found his way into the first team for them.”

“Blackburn were short in those areas whereas we were well stocked in those areas, we just didn’t have the space and the pandemic didn’t really help. He’s making his way in the game so I’m pleased for him,” he added.

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