Preston North End have taken the option of exercising one-year extensions to the deals of Aaron Bennett and Mikey O’Neill, with both also being offered professional contracts.
The second-year scholars, part of the U19 team who were crowned league champions earlier in the week, will stay on at Deepdale for at least an extra year where they will be eligible to take part in both youth team and first team fixtures.
Since making his return in February from an ACL injury which kept him sidelined for ten months, Bennett has featured regularly for the U19s, most recently scoring a hat-trick in the 8-1 victory over Port Vale which clinched the league title.
He has also played for the reserves in the Central League, impressing in front of the first team staff at Euxton.
Meanwhile, it has been a fantastic week for O’Neill, who made his debut in professional football on Saturday, coming on as a late substitute in the Championship victory over Queens Park Rangers at Deepdale.
Mikey then captained the U19s to their win against Port Vale, before the club took the option to extend his contract and offer professional terms.
Manager Ryan Lowe said: “For Mikey, the minute I came in and saw him, he was scoring goals for the youth team, so we were quick to get him up to the first team and he’s shown that he can handle it.
“I’m really pleased that we’ve taken the extension and I’ve said to him today that’s the easy part, now the hard part is getting around the squad, getting in the team and making more appearances.
“I’m really looking forward to working with him, especially in pre-season, because I think he’s got a really good chance of making a career for himself and hopefully it’s at Preston North End.
“With Aaron, we felt we had a duty of care to him because he’d been out injured for ten months, but I’ve heard the reviews from Nick Harrison, the Academy staff and Paul Gallagher.
“He’s been scoring goals as an attacking eight, and we felt it was only right that we gave him the extra year to take a good look at him in pre-season.
“Training with the first team is obviously a lot harder than it is with the Academy, so it’s a challenge for him now to get super fit, come back in pre-season firing on all cylinders and again he’s another youngster coming through the ranks who we want to give chances to.”
Everyone at Preston North End would like to congratulate Aaron and Mikey, and we look forward to seeing them develop with the club in the future.