Preston North End manager Alex Neil is pleased that three more members of his squad have committed their futures to the Lilywhites.
Speaking after Andrew Hughes, Adam O’Reilly and Josh Earl put pen to paper on new deals, the Scot said that it was a good decision to get them tied down.
Speaking to PNE.Com the gaffer said: “They are all at different stages of their careers. We have had a lot players running into their last year and it was important we dealt with that.
“Adam has gone out on loan and Josh spent last year out on loan, and these will be good experiences for the both of them and Andrew when he has been fit, he has been a virtual every present for us.
“For different reasons, it is good business for us to get them tied down and let’s hope the younger lads can flourish – Adam can get experience; Josh can force his way into the squad and the team and Hughesy can try and continue the path that he is on.
“It makes sense for us to have tied them down and they can focus on playing football, rather than worrying about where they are going to be next.”
Andrew Hughes was very honest in his interview after signing up, feeling that he didn’t have his best year in 2019/20 and the PNE boss was not surprised at his left back’s self-reflection.
“I think we are honest with each other,” he continued. “I speak with all the players about how I think they have performed and about how they think they have performed.
“It is not any news to me that Andrew thought that. In his first season, I thought he was up there for player of the season – I thought he was terrific – then last year, I don’t think he hit the heights that he is capable of, but then at the moment he in a great vein of form and we want that to continue.”
Adam O’Reilly, who signed on until 2023, has coincided this with a loan move to Bamber Bridge and Alex feels this will be very beneficial to the 19-year-old Irish midfielder: “He went to Stalybridge at the end of last season, which I think was good for him and he has now gone to Bamber Bridge, which is great for him.
“He needs to go and sample being in a man’s changing room and needing to win matches and that is going to be really important for him.
“What he then has to do, is to show us, show them and show everyone that he is too good for that level and then hopefully there will be a lot of people looking to take him, or he will be coming back with us and trying to force his way into the squad.”
Josh Earl, 22, meanwhile, who extended his stay that began as a nine-year-old, must show patience, said the manager: “Sometimes, if you find yourself in the position that Josh is, you need to be a bit patient.
“As I mentioned, Hughesy is in really good form right now, so he needs to be patient, but he needs to make sure he is ready.
“What loans do, more than anything else, is that they make you realise how fortunate you are to be somewhere and when Josh has been to Bolton and Ipswich – albeit two very good clubs – when he comes back here he has looked around and thought ‘this is a good place to be’.
“It is a good place to be playing his football and learning and he has to embrace that,” he added.