Preston North End have completed the emergency loan of Manchester United goalkeeper Sam Johnstone.
Johnstone, who has been given the No.1 shirt vacated by Jordan Pickford – who has been recalled from his season long loan from Sunderland – will be available for the first game of 2016 when the Lilywhites face Rotherham United on Saturday.
The Preston-born stopper joined PNE on loan in January 2015, going on to make 25 appearances, keeping 12 clean sheets in the process, his last being the 4-0 Play-Off Final win over Swindon Town at Wembley back in May.
He returned to Old Trafford and was selected as part of Louis Van Gaal’s Champions League squad, but has been given the opportunity to go back out on loan to get games, signing initially for 28 days, up to and including the Derby County fixture at the end of the month.
Speaking about bringing Sam back to Deepdale manager Simon Grayson said: “Sam is someone we know very well and someone we tried to sign in the summer. It is a big boost to have him available and back at the football club again.
“Jordan has gone back and we would like to thank him for his efforts whilst he was here. It is no surprise, considering how well he has done that they want to have a look at him. He was fantastic to work with and he contributed majorly to us, but that disappointing news was countered by the news we were able to bring Sam back to the football club.
“We made no secret of the fact we wanted Sam back in the summer and we made a huge effort to get it done, but it didn’t materialize then, however, we are in a good position now, bringing in someone who knows all about us, knows the players and the way we work and hopefully he will slot back in just how he left us at Wembley.”
Johnstone himself was delighted to be able to return to his home town club for a second time. He said: “It's good to eventually come back, I'm glad I'm back and hopefully I can start playing games now.
“It's great to be around the team at Manchester United, but I am 22-years-old and I have to think about myself a little bit and I need to be playing first team football. I get to do that now in the Championship, which is a great league to play in.
“My last game here for Preston was at Wembley, it was a great day, but now we've got to kick on. I've seen the results that the lads have been getting recently and hopefully we can carry that on.”