Preston North End boss Ryan Lowe has said neither he or Daniel Johnson are worried about the latter’s contract situation, but talks are set to take place early in April.
Preston North End recruited Johnson from Aston Villa way back in January 2015, signing the midfielder for just £50,000.
Since then, the Jamaican has been a star player for the Lilywhites and one of the most popular among supporters. He’s managed 57 goals and 37 assists in 325 games for the club, but this season has sprung some challenges.
Johnson has been in and out of the side somewhat but was back in the headlines after scoring in an impressive display against Wigan Athletic last weekend. His performance has prompted questions over his contract situation too, with his current deal expiring in the summer.
However, neither Johnson or manager Lowe are too concerned with the matter just yet.
Speaking with Lancs Live, Lowe revealed the plan is for talks to take place in early April, but until then, the full focus is seemingly on footballing matters. He said:
“Me and DJ have had a conversation regarding him – whether it is here or somewhere else.
“He is a top Championship player isn’t he? So, if we didn’t take him, someone else would snap your hand off for him.
“We are obviously favourites, because he’s with us already. But, he knows what he has got to do. He is not worried about the contract situation at all; neither am I. If he keeps performing the way he’s performing, there will hopefully be a conversation to be had. But, ultimately, it is down to the players isn’t it? If you keep performing to the best of your ability, then I always think things happen for a reason.
“He has not banged on my door once, talking about it.
“And that is where you have to give him the respect he deserves – and the type of person he is. He knows what he is about and that conversation, we will speak about it early-April and take it from there. But, all that is important for DJ now – and the players who are out of contract – is to perform to the best of their ability and see where it takes us.”
What could the summer bring?
It remains to be seen just what comes of the planned talks over Johnson’s contract situation, but as Lowe highlighted, it will be largely down to the midfielder’s stance and his performances on the pitch.
If a change of scenery is in the mind of Johnson, Lowe is right in saying he’ll have plenty of options elsewhere. A player of his pedigree at this level surely wouldn’t stay out of the game for long, with a free transfer a bargain deal for whoever strikes a deal.
Johnson’s years of service at Deepdale will see him go down in the memories of supporters as a firm favourite for years to come. It just awaits to be seen if his Preston story ends here or if he further extends his lengthy stay in Lancashire.