Preston have a strong history with Ireland in recent times, and particularly Cork City – a link that may soon come to the fore again.
North End have brought in the likes of Alan Browne, Andy Boyle, Daryl Horgan, Kevin O’Connor, Seani Maguire and Graham Burke from the League of Ireland, with mixed success.
At youth level, Preston snapped up Cork defender Harry Nevin last summer, and are now looking to sign another young Cork talent in the hope of finding the next Alan Browne.
It’s now emerging in Ireland that Preston have been taking a look at Cork talent Joe O’Brien-Whitmarsh, welcoming him to England for a trial spell last week.
The midfielder currently plays for Cork and the Ireland Under-15’s, meaning Preston are trying to get in early and take a look at a real talent for the future – just like they did with Nevin and Browne.
The problem for Preston here is that O’Brien-Whitmarsh has now gone on trial with Premier League side West Ham United – and he scored four times in a game against Ipswich Town on Saturday.
That’s a hugely impressive return from O’Brien-Whitmarsh, and West Ham may now challenge for his signature in the coming weeks, with the teenager already looking set to leave Ireland.
One man who will know how O’Brien-Whitmarsh feels is Maguire; he made a move to West Ham as a kid before ending up at Preston – and he may serve as a cautionary tale to the midfielder as he considers Preston or the Premier League.