Preston North End U19s enjoyed an immensely successful 2021/22 campaign, winning the EFL Youth Alliance League and Cup double, as well as many of their players playing a huge role in the Central League title success.
The youth side won 20 of their 26 league matches, scoring a staggering 83 goals and conceding 25 as they finished seven points ahead of Carlisle United.
They rounded off their season with a 4-1 demolition of Luton Town at Kenilworth Road to secure the cup and complete the double.
Manager Nick Harrison said: “We had a really successful season if you look at results; winning the league and cup competitions is good no matter what level of football you’re at.
“Although it’s really pleasing to win games, the fact of the matter is it’s about getting players into first team environments and helping them progress in their careers, so I don’t think it was any different to any other year.”
That impressive season has seen many earn their place with the first team, including Mikey O’Neill who made his professional debut at the end of the last campaign, while the likes of Aaron Bennett, Dana Amaral and James Pradic have all had a part to play in pre-season after penning their first pro deals.
“It’s brilliant to see players progressing into our first team environment, whether they’re playing games or not,” added Nick.
“It’s a really difficult task for the young players just because we’re at a Championship level and we’ve already got good players in the first team.
“It’s a massive positive and we’ve seen that happen this season already and I’m sure it’ll continue.”
Another player to look out for in the U19s set-up this season is holding midfielder Lewis Leigh, who missed the end of last season through injury.
Nick said: “Lewis Leigh was doing well as a second-year scholar. He’d already been with the first team at the start of last season and earned himself a professional contract.
“What’s pleasing with Lewis is he had a nasty injury, but he’s worked hard over the summer and come back with full fitness, looking really sharp and at the moment is doing really well.”
There are also ten new scholars being added into the mix with Tommy Davis, Cole McGhee, Kacper Pasiek, Tom Wilkinson, Charlie Goldsmith, Ellis Horan, Izac Khan, Kaedyn Kamara, Callum Havard and Ethan Eccleston all signing with the Lilywhites for two years.
PNE’s league campaign begins with a visit from Oldham Athletic to Springfields on Saturday 6th August at 10.30am. A full fixture list can be found here.