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a "wing back"Preston boss Ryan Lowe has hinted that loanee Josh Murphy could play as a wing back in his system – when he’s back from injury anyway.
North End swooped on deadline day in August to sign Murphy, taking him on a season-long loan from Cardiff City.
Murphy had work with then-Preston boss Frankie McAvoy at Norwich City, so a reunion made sense for the winger.
Sadly, the system didn’t. Preston played in a 3-4-1-2 under McAvoy and winger Murphy found it difficult to feature.
More than five months on from Murphy’s arrival at Preston, we still haven’t seen him start a game. Some of that is down to injury, some of that is down to being cup-tied for the Carabao Cup, and some of that is down to pure selection issues.
Of late, Murphy has been ruled out through injury and hasn’t been able to play a single minute of action under Lowe.
Some wondered whether Murphy would be sent back to Cardiff in January, but the transfer window closed with Murphy still at Deepdale.
Lowe has now been speaking about his situation, telling Lancs Live that he wants to test Murphy as a wing back or even as a striker.
Lowe can’t wait to see Murphy in action, noting his pedigree having been a Premier League footballer in the past, believing there is potential for Murphy to make a big impact at Preston.
“Yeah Josh is out on the grass now and I think he is due to do a bit of ball work one day next week with us,” said Lowe. “He is going okay and if he is back in the fold in a week or so, we’ll see if we feel we can get something out of Josh in that right wing-back position or even as a striker if you like. He’s going fine with the medical and fitness teams, but I don’t want to count my chickens just yet.
“Yeah it will and it’ll give the lads a lift as well as Josh. I haven’t seen anything of him really, on the grass, since I have been here. He’s champing at the bit to showcase what he’s got, what he’s about and I’m champing at the bit to see what he can give us. We know his pedigree, we know he’s a good footballer. When you’ve got good footballers like that in the building and get them fully fit, they have always got something to offer,” he added.
If Murphy gets a go at right wing back, that really would continue the revolving door of players being tried at right wing back.
Ali McCann, Brad Potts, Matt Olosunde, Joe Rafferty and Tom Barkhuizen have all played there, with Lowe’s long-term option seemingly not yet found.
Murphy hasn’t really played in that role before, but should give Lowe a very attack-minded option.
There will be plenty of games where Lowe wants to see what his fringe players can do before next season, and with Murphy out of contract at Cardiff, he is now in a critical period in his pursuit of a North End deal.