With Preston no longer having an Under-23 side, North End youngsters often head out on loan to pick up first-team experience elsewhere.
Four Preston youngsters are all in non-league football right now, with Jack Baxter at Clitheroe, Jack Armer at Lancaster City and both Ethan Walker and Adam O’Reilly at Stalybridge Celtic.
Whilst they may not be experiencing elite football, they will be growing as men having played regularly against grizzled veterans and in testing conditions.
Josh Earl made the jump from loaned-out to a non-league side to Preston first team in 2017, and that’s the goal for all four of these players once the football season is able to resume.
Now, Stalybridge boss Simon Haworth has conducted a question and answer session on Twitter, and received a question from one fan about the best three players he has managed so far.
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Haworth has been managing since 2013, and picked out AFC Fylde’s Kurt Willoughby, Chorley’s Alex Newby and Preston talent O’Reilly, with his brief time at Stalybridge seemingly going down well.
That’s major praise from the former Wigan Athletic striker, and O’Reilly took to Twitter to reply, admitting that he really appreciates such kind words from his current boss.
O’Reilly is just 18, but has been highly-regarded since arriving at Deepdale. Born in Cork and initially emerging with Ringmahon Rangers, O’Reilly is following a similar path to current Preston ace Alan Browne.
With his loan spell going well, O’Reilly is on the right path – and Alex Neil will no doubt love to see Haworth making these comments about the teenager.