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Dublin: 4 °C Tuesday 19 February, 2019
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Cork City sign 'exciting' 18-year-old attacking talent on loan from Preston

Michael Howard will link up with John Caulfield’s League of Ireland champions until June.

Howard: 'I think it is a great opportunity for me.'
Howard: 'I think it is a great opportunity for me.'

CORK CITY FC have announced the signing of 18-year-old Michael Howard from Preston North End on loan.

Howard, who plays predominantly as a winger or striker, is set to stay on Leeside until the end of June, pending receipt of international clearance.

He’s been involved with Preston since the age of eight and stormed through the underage ranks, scoring goals week in, week out but has yet to make the full breakthrough to the Championship outfit’s first team.

Today though, he agreed an 18-month professional contract with the option of a further 12 months. He’s being sent to Turner’s Cross to get a proper taste for senior football first though.

“When I was first told that Cork City were interested, I was kind of shocked, but I couldn’t wait to get on the flight,” he told CorkCityFC.ie.

“I think it is a great opportunity for me.”

He added that the former Cork City contingent who now ply their trade at Deepdale encouraged the youngster to make the move across the water.

“They all said it is a decent level to play at and they wished me the best. Since I went up to the first team I was quite close to Daryl Horgan and I speak to him quite a bit, and he said that it was a good bunch of lads and to enjoy it. His brother Colm is here as well too, which also helps me settle in.”

“I want to make my mark and make a name for myself over here if I can. As a young player, I want to make an impression at Cork City and, obviously, to Preston as well for when I go back there.”

Southport-born Howard could make his debut for City against Waterford on Friday night, with boss John Caulfield sharing his delight at the capture:

“Michael is very highly rated by Preston,” he said.

“He is very quick and a good finisher, he can play at centre forward and on the wing, so we are very happy to bring him in until the break.

“He is still only 18 but we have watched him, and he has huge potential, so I think he will be an exciting player. He will certainly figure in games during the first half of the season and he comes straight into the squad for Friday’s game.

“It’s a good deal for us, he’s coming in on loan and it’s good to get a player with a lot of potential. He did really well in training this morning. We have to be careful with him because of his age, but he looks a really exciting prospect.”

Preston added their own words of goodwill upon his departure: “Congratulations to Michael on his first professional contract and we would like to wish him luck during his loan spell with Cork City.”

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