The Football League Paper - - NEWS -

PRE­STON boss Si­mon Grayson be­lieves the blow of see­ing star loa­nee Jor­dan Pick­ford re­turn to par­ent club Sun­der­land has been soft­ened by the re­turn of Manch­ester United keeper Sam John­stone.

It was per­haps in­evitable that Sam Al­lardyce’s Sun­der­land, who are rock bot­tom of the Premier League, would call on Pick­ford fol­low­ing his stun­ning spell at Pre­ston.

Up un­til the end of 2015, the Li­ly­whites had con­ceded just 21 league goals this sea­son and given their tooth­less at­tack – they’ve scored just 19 in that time – Pick­ford has helped keep them afloat.

How­ever, Grayson has re­placed him with 22-yearold John­stone, who was be­tween the sticks as Pre­ston tri­umphed in the League One play-off fi­nal last May.

John­stone is ini­tially on a 28-day loan deal and Grayson said: “Jor­dan has gone back.

“We had an agree­ment in the sum­mer that he would be for the year but ob­vi­ously Sun­der­land had an op­tion that they could re­call him in Jan­uary if they needed to.

“Given how well he has played, it is not a sur­prise they have called him back.

“The dis­ap­point­ment of him go­ing back is bal­anced out by the pos­i­tive news that we have been able to sign Sam John­stone on a 28-day loan.

“He is some­one we know well and tried to sign in the sum­mer.”

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