Former Preston North End defender Darnell Fisher is set to leave Middlesbrough this summer after just 13 appearances for the club.

The right-back left North End for the North East in January 2021 during the behind closed doors season. He was part of an exodus of key players from Deepdale, as Ben Pearson and Ben Davies also left in that transfer window. All three were into the last six months of their contract and Preston were unable to convince them to extend their stays.

Fisher made the move to Middlesbrough after three-and-a-half years at Preston, in which time he played 119 games for the club. He was one of Alex Neil’s first signings as manager at Deepdale after joining from Rotherham United and quickly established himself in the team.

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He made the right-back position his own and was one of the strongest in his position in the league. Wingers very rarely got the better of Fisher and he was someone the opposition hated to come against. Much like Pearson he was more than capable of winding up the opposition as well much to the joy of Preston fans.

It was Neil Warnock who took him to Boro in 2021, but the they have since had Chris WIlder and Michael Carrick take the helm since. Fisher played 12 games in his first half season with the club but has had terrible injury problems since.

Fisher injured his knee in a freak accident at home in the summer of 2021, which led to him completely missing the 2021/22 season. The injury occurred when a friend slipped and fell onto his knee, with the initial diagnosis being a 9 month lay-off.

The recovery hasn’t been straight forward though for the former Celtic man. A few niggles when getting close to a return kept Fisher out even longer. It’s been a nightmare couple of seasons for the 29-year-old who went over two years without playing a game.

He finally made his return to football with a substitute appearance in the last game of the regular season for Middlesbrough. It was just one minute, but it would have been a relief after so long out. Michael Carrick told The Northern Echo he was really keen to see Fisher get on the pitch after being impressed with his attitude and professionalism in training.

Fisher’s contract at Middlesbrough does run out in a month’s time however, and with Anfernee Dijksteel and Tommy Smith currently ahead of him in the pecking order it seems unlikely he will extend his stay there. Also Middlesbrough may be in the top flight next season as well making it even harder for him to get a chance.

The Northern Echo does suggest Derby County could be interested in signing Fisher. Paul Warne managed Fisher in his last season with Rotherham United and he could link up with him again, as well as Tom Barkhuizen.

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