Despite loaning Josh Earl to Bolton Wanderers, Preston chose not to sign a new left back before last week’s transfer deadline.

North End just went in with Andrew Hughes as the sole left back, a decision which immediately exposed. Hughes picked up a hamstring injury against Wigan Athletic just days after the transfer window closed, and he hasn’t kicked a ball for the first team since.

Joe Rafferty has filled in admirably at left back, and North End’s top target for the position has been playing in a new role too.

Preston made a move for Derby County left back Max Lowe, who impressed at Aberdeen last season. As noted by the LEP, the bid was snubbed, and North End chose not to return with a new move.

Alex Neil and co may be keeping tabs on Lowe for January, but he has been playing an unfamiliar position for Derby so far this season.

Max Lowe of Derby County. (Photo by James Williamson – AMA/Getty Images)

Lowe has been pressed into a shock right back role so far, playing five times in that role. Despite being predominantly left footed, Phillip Cocu has kept Lowe at right back this term, and he’s been faring surprisingly well.

The 22-year-old will no doubt want to return to the left soon, and has reflected on his new role. Lowe told Derby’s official website last week that he’s happy to fill in until Jayden Bogle or Andre Wisdom return from injury, but feels he has improved as time as gone on.

“It has been interesting having to fill in at right-back. I like to think I have done better as the games have gone on, as I’ve got more settled,” said Lowe. “I have just seen it as a learning curve really until Jayden Bogle or Andre Wisdom are back fit. I will just do my best in that position if the gaffer picks me on matchday,” he added.

Just as Rafferty has been forced to play on the ‘wrong’ side of defence, so has Lowe. It will be interesting to see what happens to his playing time when those right backs do return, and whether North End revive their interest in January. After all, Neil may well value that new-found versatility.

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