Preston’s summer planning has been kickstarted this morning with a host of departures.
North End ended the campaign in dire form, and it’s no great surprise that changes are coming. That has started with a host of fringe players leaving the club.
Marnick Vermijl, Tommy Spurr, Andy Boyle and Ben Pringle will all leave the club this summer, as the club have confirmed. Youngsters Tom Stead and Michael Howard are also being released.
Vermijl, 27, has proven to be a woeful signing. He showed some quality on loan, but paying up to sign him permanently hasn’t worked out. He’s never convinced Neil, he played just 10 games last season and has spent the season on loan at second-tier Dutch side MVV Maastricht. That kind of sums up where the Belgian right back is at right now.
Spurr actually played a decent squad role for Neil last season, but was then loaned out to Fleetwood Town. Sadly, Spurr’s injury woes struck again, and he only managed seven games this season. With no appearances since September, it’s no surprise that North End have let Spurr go.
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Boyle joined North End alongside Daryl Horgan in 2017, both arriving from Dundalk. The pair had starred in Dundalk’s Europa League run, and were seen as coups on free transfers. Neither worked out, with Horgan long gone and Boyle following suit after loan spells with Doncaster Rovers, Dundee and Ross County. He ended up being a replacement for Bailey Wright, and that was almost an albatross around the Irishman’s neck at Deepdale.
Pringle was supposed to be a big signing from Fulham in 2016, having previously dazzled for Rotherham. He’s proven to be a monumental flop, making just 14 appearances – and the last of those came in December 2016. The midfielder hasn’t featured under Neil, and has been out on loan with Oldham Athletic, Grimsby Town and Tranmere Rovers. Three years after his arrival, Pringle’s dismal spell is summed up by an almost irrelevant exit.
Youngsters Stead and Howard are moving on after failing to break through, but local defender Jack Armer has signed a professional deal. All other second-year scholars have been released at the end of their deals.
Armer, 18, was born in Preston but already has four Under-17 caps for Scotland. Primarily a centre back and left back, Armer appears to have a bright future, and joins Jack Baxter and Adam O’Reilly in earning a pro deal.