Town complete loan deal for Preston attacker Harrop

Ipswich Town have signed Josh Harrop on loan from Preston North End. Photo: ITFC

Ipswich Town have signed Josh Harrop on loan from Preston North End. Photo: ITFC - Credit: ITFC

Ipswich Town have signed versatile attacker Josh Harrop on loan from Championship club Preston North End for the remainder of the season. 

The former Manchester United youngster, 25, is primarily a No.10 but can also play wide. 

A tricky set-piece specialist who is comfortable using both feet, he has been recruited to add some creative spark to a possession-based Blues side that has often struggled to break down organised opposition. 

Manchester United's Josh Harrop celebrates scoring his side's first goal of the game during the Prem

Josh Harrop scored on his one and only senior appearance for Manchester United - opening the scoring in a 2-0 home win against Crystal Palace in May 2017. Photo: PA - Credit: PA

His arrival means the Blues will now have to cut a senior player from their squad to stay within salary cap restrictions. 

Harrop came through the youth ranks at Manchester United, starred for their U23s and then scored on his senior debut at the end of the 2016/17 campaign. 

He subsequently turned down a new deal at Old Trafford to sign a four-year contract at Preston.  

In 2017/18, he made 12 starts and 27 substitute appearances, providing two goals and one assist. A cruciate knee ligament injury then ruled him out for the vast majority of the following campaign. 

Josh Harrop has struggled for game time at Preston North End this season. Photo: ITFC

Josh Harrop has struggled for game time at Preston North End this season. Photo: ITFC - Credit: ITFC

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He started last season with a bang, scoring five goals by early October, then added three more in three successive games at the start of January. Regular starts still proved hard to come by though and he ended the campaign with half of his 36 appearances having come off the bench. 

Harrop signed a fresh three-year at Preston last August but has since found game-time limited. 

He’s started just one league game so far this season (October 31) and arrives at Portman Road having had just 65 minutes of competitive football over the months of November and December.  

Speaking after the 1-0 home loss to Nottingham Forest on January 2, Preston boss Alex Neil explained Harrop’s absence from the squad was down to an ongoing hamstring niggle. 

He said: “It’s a bit of a strange one with Josh, he’s been on and off training. He’s been coming out to train thinking it will be okay but then had to go back in because it’s sore.” 

Town put Harrop through a stringent medical process before signing off on the deal. He could go straight into the squad, along with fellow new signing Luke Thomas (Barnsley, loan), for Saturday's clash with Peterborough United.

Derby County's Wayne Rooney (left) speaks to Preston North End's Josh Harrop after the Sky Bet Champ

Preston's Josh Harrop (right), pictured alongside Derby County's Wayne Rooney earlier this season. The two were team-mates at Manchester United. Photo: PA - Credit: PA

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