Whilst Jermaine Beckford is often held up as the hero in Preston’s promotion winning campaign back in 2015, Sam Johnstone’s role shouldn’t be overlooked.
Yes, Beckford was outstanding and bagged the hat-trick in the play-off final against Swindon Town, but Johnstone proved to be a huge signing.
Preston took Johnstone on loan in January 2015, managing to convince Manchester United to cancel his Doncaster Rovers loan to facilitate a move to Deepdale.
As a Preston-born star and the son of ex-Preston goalkeeper Glenn Johnstone, the move to North End appealed to Johnstone, and he made a big impression.
He didn’t concede a single goal in the play-off run, and even returned in January 2016 when Jordan Pickford was recalled by Sunderland.
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Johnstone will be tied to Preston for life in many ways, but he is now on an upward trajectory in the Premier League having starred for West Bromwich Albion this season.
The 27-year-old has made more Premier League saves than any other stopper this season, and is really pushing towards being in contention for the England squad this summer.
West Brom are in danger of suffering relegation, and it seems that Johnstone is already being lined up for a Premier League stay if the Baggies do go down.
The Sun reported last month that Leeds United want to sign Johnstone, whilst they now claim that Tottenham Hotspur are plotting a move to sign him if they lose Hugo Lloris to Paris Saint-Germain.
This month brings up six years since Johnstone joined his hometown club, and it seems that interest is mounting in his signature once again, this time with a big move potentially on the cards either now or in the summer.