Preston North End’s top scorer so far this season will be staying at Deepdale until at least 2024.

Ched Evans has signed a one-year extension with his previous deal set to run out at the end of this season. The Welshman has been a key player over the last few months with six goals in seven games. He’s led the line well and with Emil Riis now out until the end of the season we will need his experience up top.

The 34-year-old’s form has come as a surprise to many. Before his brace against Reading on 4th November, Evans had gone nearly a year without a goal for North End. It just didn’t seem to be part of his game anymore and after our struggle to find the net early in the season it didn’t look like he was the answer.

However he has found that scoring touch now and we will need it to continue for the next 18 months. It’s a contract extension we predicted last week, and we need to see more of this season’s Ched Evans rather than the one from last season.

The former Sheffield United striker will have been wary of his contract running down and that will play on a footballer’s mind when they take to the pitch. A lot of players suddenly find some golden form when it comes to that stage in order to earn another contract. Once the ink is dry on the new deal they can relax a bit and form can tail off.

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A prime example of that is Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang when he signed his last deal with Arsenal. After 30 goals in the 19/20 season he signed a bumper new deal but then struggled after that before being shipped off to Barcelona 18 months later.

Now obviously Preston and Ched Evans are worlds away from that and the desire Evans has shown would suggest he isn’t one to slow down now.

The young loan strikers we have will want to learn from him and he is already undergoing some work for his training badges. Evans will be grateful for another year at this club and probably another year in the Championship at this stage of his career.

Not many would have predicted when he signed for us in January 2021 that he would still be wearing the shirt in 2024.

As things stand though it is only him and Emil Riis who are contracted as senior strikers at the club for next season so there is likely to be a lot of changes over the next year.

That probably gave Ryan Lowe more motive to give Evans the deal. Riis might not be fit for the start of next season and if Evans had left the club along with Sean Maguire whose contract is into it’s last six months then we would have been left with just young Finlay Cross-Adair.

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