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Preston North End FC Player Profiles

Posted 17th July 2012 at 06:26 am

Preston North End swooped to agree a deal to sign much-sought after Tranmere Rovers captain John Welsh on a two-year deal in the summer of 2012.

The central midfielder was out of contract at Prenton Park, although the Birkenhead side had offered him a new deal and a number of other clubs were also set to pounce. However, the Lilywhites moved quickly to get the former Liverpool man to agree a contract that came into effect from the beginning of July.

Welsh started his career at Liverpool, joining the club at the age of ten. He progressed through the ranks at Anfield becoming reserve team captain in the process, before he made his debut for the Reds under Gerard Houllier, coming on as a substitute in a Carling Cup fourth round tie against Ipswich Town in December 2002.

The former England U21 international made his Premier League debut against Arsenal in October 2003, but it was not until Rafa Benitez was appointed Liverpool manager that Welsh began to make the breakthrough at Anfield.

Featuring in Carling Cup clashes against Middlesbrough and Tottenham Hotspur, Welsh made his first start for the Reds in an FA Cup third round clash against Burnley in January 2005. 

Premier League starts against Bolton and Crystal Palace followed, whilst the former England U20s captain also featured in Liverpool’s famous run to the Champions League Final in 2005, coming on as a substitute against Bayer Leverkusen.

After ten appearances for the club, Liverpool loaned Welsh out to Hull City for the 2005/06 season. Welsh impressed at the KC Stadium, with the Tigers making the move permanent in January 2006.

Welsh made 33 appearances in his first season for Hull, and scored his first ever senior goals with a brace against Coventry City in September 2005. He scored his third goal for the Club against North End at Deepdale in October 2006.

He enjoyed brief loan spells at Chester City, Carlisle United and Bury, before he joined Tranmere Rovers in July 2009 following his release from Hull. Welsh made 52 appearances in his first season at Prenton Park, and scored on his home league debut for the club in a 4-2 victory over Gillingham.

The Tranmere captain made 48 appearances for the Club the following season, before making a further 49 appearances in his final year at Prenton Park. With the offer of a new contract on the table at Tranmere, Welsh decided it was time for pastures new, departing the Wirral to join the Lilywhites in July 2012. And the midfielder made an instant impact in his debut season, making 46 appearances in 2012/13.

The following campaign, Welsh captained North End to a fifth place finish in Sky Bet League One.

The skipper was pivotal as the Lilywhites reached the Play-Offs.

It took the midfielder until April to score his first goal of the season - the opener against Gillingham at Deepdale.

Then, like London buses, his second arrived soon after - in the very next game to be precise - a consolation against Crewe in the final fixture of the regular season.

Welsh continued to be an invaluable commodity in PNE’s promotion clinching season, making 44 appearances.

The tough tackling midfielder was rewarded for his consistency with a new two year contract in the summer of 2015. 

Career History