Ryan Lowe admits he wanted 'fantastic' Preston player at Plymouth, now fancies 'speedy' signing
Photo by Ian Cook - CameraSport via Getty Images

Ryan Lowe admits he wanted to sign Preston ace Josh Earl at Plymouth

Preston boss Ryan Lowe has admitted that he wants to sign Josh Earl for Plymouth Argyle – but actually saw him as a left-sided centre back.

North End take on Birmingham City in the Championship this afternoon, with no new faces yet brought in this month.

There will be no debutants for the Preston crowd to see in action, with this the first Deepdale home game since beating Barnsley on December 11th.

The main area you would imagine Preston will strengthen this month is left wing back.

Andrew Hughes and Greg Cunningham are seen as left-sided centre backs in Ryan Lowe’s system, with Earl the only left wing back option.

Earl has started all three of Lowe’s games in charge of Preston but may soon have new competition.

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Wigan Athletic’s Tom Pearce and Swansea City’s Jake Bidwell have both been linked lately, suggesting this is a position of importance for Lowe this month.

Earl will likely start again today, seeking consistency having been a little up and down in recent games.

Lowe has now shared his thoughts on Earl, revealing to Lancs Live that he enquired about signing Earl back in January 2021.

Earl didn’t end up joining Lowe at Plymouth, instead heading to play for Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink at Burton Albion.

Lowe actually saw Earl as a left-sided centre back then, and may see him there in the long-term. Lowe feels Earl is trying his best at being converted from a left centre back to a left wing back.

Earl did though start out as a left winger for Preston before being played as a left back under Alex Neil.

STOKE ON TRENT, ENGLAND – JANUARY 03: Preston North End’s Josh Earl breaks away from Stoke City’s Ben Wilmot during the Sky Bet Championship match between Stoke City and Preston North End at Bet365 Stadium on January 3, 2022 in Stoke on Trent, England. (Photo by Andrew Kearns – CameraSport via Getty Images)

At Preston, we haven’t really seen Earl as a left-sided centre back. That could be the plan moving forward though, with Lowe keen to bring in a ‘speedy’ signing at left wing back.

“Josh has been fantastic, I enquired about Josh when I was Plymouth Argyle manager for a left sided centre-back,” said Lowe. “He ended up going to Burton Albion and didn’t really play. He has been playing for a while (here) and is doing a fantastic job – he’s coping on a daily basis with one-to-one coaching on what I want from him.”

“But it’s hard isn’t it when you are a 6ft 4″ left centre-back being converted into a left wing-back, it’s tough, but he takes on board every single day what we’re trying to do and he’s still trying to get better. He’s still a young lad, doing a fantastic job out there and long may that continue, but yeah, if we could add a little bit of help.”

“We’ve got Greg who could possibly play out there as well, but if we could add a little bit of help with a ‘speedy one’. They are hard to find aren’t they? We’ve got the squad and as I say, if one or two moves out, we’ll have a look at that position but if not then we are quite content with what we’ve got,” he added.

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