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How Jayson Molumby Will Fit Into The Preston North End Midfield

How Jayson Molumby Will Fit Into The Preston North End Midfield
By Sean Meehan Updated

Last night, it was confirmed that Ireland international Jayson Molumby had moved on loan to Championship side Preston North End from Brighton and Hove Albion.

Securing a loan move this January was crucial for Molumby to force his way into Stephen Kenny's plans for March's World Cup qualifiers, with the Waterford native playing a handful of minutes for Brighton this season.

Although Millwall were interested in bringing the Waterford native back on a permanent basis, Brighton were only interested in a loan deal for the central-midfielder.

According to Preston manager Alex Neil, the club had to fend off a number of Championship clubs to secure Molumby, with the player himself saying it was a "no brainer" to join the club once he heard of their interest.

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He joins a strong Irish contingent at Deepdale, with Seani Maguire, Joe Rafferty and club captain Alan Browne all on the books at the moment, with a further two Irish players out on loan.

The presence of Browne in the Preston midfield, alongside a host of other players, makes this move an intriguing one for both player and club.

Alex Neil has a host of central midfield talent at his disposal, but Jayson Molumby's arrival seems to indicate that one or two players may be on the way out of the Deepdale door.

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Even speaking on Molumby's arrival, Neil was keen to remind anyone that would listen that in the transfer market, anything can happen.

“He will add more competition. It is well-documented the position we find ourselves with some of the players whose contracts are running out and we have needed to act.

“We are in the transfer window and we don’t know the outcome and we need to make sure we have positions covered off."

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The reason why is down to the contract situation of Preston's three key central midfielders; Ben Pearson, Daniel Johnson and the aforementioned Browne.

All three of these players are out of contract in the summer, and although Molumby's loan is only until the end of the season, it seems to suggest that at least one of those players will be leaving in January.

Furthermore, veteran Scottish midfielder Paul Gallagher is also out of contract in the summer, but he isn't expected to leave.

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Pearson seems to be the player most likely to be out the door, with interest in the combative midfielder from Brentford, West Brom and Celtic.

Pearson's game is one that most closely mirrors Molumby's out of the trio, with Browne and Johnson more attack-minded options.

Celtic have apparently made contact with Pearson over a pre-contract, meaning he'd agree to move to Parkhead in the summer for no transfer fee, although Preston may feel it necessary to cash in on their star man.

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As for Browne and Johnson, Preston have made plays to keep the duo, with not much news on Browne's future. Allegedly, Preston have offered Johnson a club record £17,000 a week to stay at Deepdale, with the other side of the Old Firm, Rangers, a potential destination.

Under Neil, Preston have opted for a 3-5-2 or a 4-5-1 depending on personnel and opposition.

Outside of the trio mentioned and Paul Gallagher, Preston also have Tom Bayliss and Ryan Ledson as midfield options, having also utilised Tom Barkhuizen in the role behind the striker.

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Regardless of formation, the make-up of Neil's central midfield rarely changes, with either one or two players sitting behind an attacking midfielder.

Molumby would be expected to fit the mould of Pearson, a combative midfielder who drives play forward before handing over to the attackers.

Jayson Molumby won't be anticipated to take on an overtly attacking role in the Preston side. He'll be tasked with defending first before allowing the game to flow through him when in attacking scenarios.

The Waterford native has gained his reputation at underage level and last season at Millwall by tough tackling and simple passing. Continued game time at the Championship level will elevate those traits, as his development continues.

There have been several Irish players to come through the doors of Deepdale, although their records vary wildly.

That being said, Molumby has all the attributes to be a hit in Lancashire.

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