North End’s 18-year-old midfielder Josh Brownhill has agreed his first professional contract with the Club.
The PNE No.30 has put pen to paper on a two-and-a-half-year deal that keeps him at Deepdale until at least the summer of 2016.
Brownhill, who was brought into the youth system after being released at 16 by Manchester United, has developed in Nick Harrison’s Academy, handed the U18 captaincy at the start of the season. But eight goals in his opening few games earned him a chance with the first team.
He earned his debut as a substitute in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy tie with Oldham, before his league bow came, also as a second half replacement, against Crewe a few days later.
One week on he was a surprise inclusion away at Gillingham, but didn’t disappoint, scoring what proved to be the winning goal at Priestfield.
Since then he has clocked up 17 appearances, scoring a further two goals, including the ten-man 13-pass move at Carlisle United which has been nominated in the Football League’s top ten goals of 2013.
He has also been nominated for the Sky Bet League One apprentice of the year award, which will be presented at the Football League awards in mid-March.
Speaking about the deal Brownhill said: “I’m delighted to be able to sign. My dream has always been to become a professional footballer and Preston North End have given me that opportunity, for which I’m really grateful.
“I was upset when I was released by Manchester United, but as soon as I was given the opportunity here I knew what a good club this was and I am glad I have been able to get this chance to prove what I am capable of.”
Manager Simon Grayson was also pleased to have tied up the signature of the Altrincham-born player: “It is brilliant for Josh. He has worked extremely hard to get to where he is now and for us as a football club, for a young player to commit his future for as long as he has, speaks volumes about what he wants to achieve and where we are going as a football club.
“There has been a lot of speculation about teams watching him, and rightly so, because he is a good young English player with huge potential.
“He has got his head the right way round, in terms of not getting carried away by things and hopefully he will keep improving, which I am sure he will do, as I know he wants to.”