Josh Earl appeared to signal his return to Preston on Saturday – but he’s already being linked elsewhere.

Earl has spent the first half of the season on loan at Bolton Wanderers, playing 11 games for the Trotters. The 21-year-old featured mostly as a centre back, which is a very interesting development in his career.

Predominantly a left back at Preston, Earl could have a future at centre back. It will be fascinating to see where Alex Neil uses him moving forward, and fans assumed that Earl was coming back to Deepdale.

Bolton Wanderers’ Josh Earl. (Photo by Andrew Kearns – CameraSport via Getty Images)

On Saturday, Earl took to Twitter to post a goodbye message to Bolton, leaving some to assume that he would be rejoining Neil’s first team back at Deepdale.

However, it was just that his loan deal with Bolton ended, and whilst he’s now available for Preston again, he could be heading to another League One side.

Football Inside claim that Lancashire neighbours Fleetwood Town are in ‘pole position’ to sign Earl, with Joey Barton moving to take Earl on loan for the rest of the season.

North End allegedly feel comfortable enough in their defensive options to send Earl on loan again, but Bolton will naturally feel gutted if he does move on to another League One side.

Of course, Ben Davies flourished on loan at Fleetwood as a left-sided centre back, and Preston may feel that Earl can follow suit with a similar move to the Cod Army.

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