Preston North End head coach Ryan Lowe has issued an update on the future of midfielder Ben Whiteman whose contract is set to expire at the end of the current season.
The midfielder made 39 appearances in all competitions last season for the Invincibles under Lowe during the manager’s debut campaign as the team finished twelfth in the Championship, seven points off the final playoff spot.
Unfortunately, the 28-year-old hasn’t featured in a single game this season for Preston after undergoing surgery on a hernia in the summer and it’s unclear when the attacking midfield player will return to action at Deepdale.
During the January transfer window, The Sun reported that Whiteman was a target for Premier League side Fulham as Marco Silva looked to bolster his midfielder for the rest of the season. This move never came to fruition, but with just twelve months remaining on his deal, Preston could lose the player in the near future.
However, Lowe isn’t worried right now and admitted that neither he nor Ben are thinking about contract talks so soon into the campaign.
“That’s the least of my worries really. There are loads of contracted lads coming to their final year aren’t there?
“It’ll be a case of working hard and earning a new contract. Ben is not thinking about that now; nor am I.
“Ben’s motive is to get fit and get back into the team. Once he does that, everything takes care of itself. I am a big believer that everything happens for a reason.
Nevertheless, Lowe also revealed that he will sit down with players at Christmas and negotiate a new contract providing they earned it:
“We need new players in signing contracts, rather than players who are already contracted to us at this moment in time.
“So, our focus is on getting a couple of players through the door. And then, whether it’s Christmas or January time or later, we’ll sit down with the ones who’ll potentially earn one and hopefully they can.”
Lowe’s primary concern regarding Whiteman right now will be getting him back into action as soon as possible following surgery in the summer.
Preston North End have had a great start to the 2023/24 season, winning twice and drawing once in three matches while remaining unbeaten. The return of Whiteman would make the side even better and the Lilywhites may be in for a great season under Lowe.