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Club News


2 February 2024

Club News


2 February 2024

Get to know more about the Reds' latest recruit!

Versatile defender Josh Earl penned a deal at Oakwell until 2027, with a further year option in the Club's favour.

Joining from fellow Sky Bet League One outfit Fleetwood Town, Earl is fit and raring to make an impact on a Barnsley team currently sitting in the play-off positions as we head into the final months of the campaign.

It was in the North West where Josh began his footballing career, making his first footsteps in the game at Preston North End aged nine.

After seven years of development at Deepdale, he signed a scholarship as a teen with the Lilywhites in July 2015.

                Earl PNE2.jpg

It was during this period where the Southport-born man's progress became evident, playing an integral part of the PNE youth team that reached the FA Youth Cup quarter-finals in 2016/17 – the furthest any Preston side had managed since 1960 – scoring twice on route to the last eight.

Shortly before committing his permanent future, he spent a month with Lancaster City to ply his trade in senior football in preparation for the huge opportunity that, unbeknowst to him, lay ahead.

His impressive displays at youth level lead to the defender earning a professional contract in April 2017, and he did not have to wait long for his first chance in the first-team under the then Preston boss Alex Neil.

His debut was a successful one on a personal level, and for his team, running out 1-0 winners against Reading in the Championship fixture in August 2017.

                Earl PNE1.jpg

Earl grabbed the occasion with both hands, and went on to make 20 appearances that campaign, and made a further 16 appearances during the following season, demonstrating his ability to be consistent in the second tier of English football at such a young age.

To continue his development, Josh moved 18 miles south to Bolton Wanderers on loan until January 2020. However, an injury sustained on his debut against Wycombe Wanderers haltered his progress in Greater Manchester, making 11 appearances under former Reds boss, Keith Hill.

East Anglia was the next destination for our new man, joining Ipswich Town for the remainder of the 19/20 campaign. Earl made seven appearances before returning to Lancashire in the summer in a Covid-interrupted campaign.

                Earl Ipswich1.jpg

The following season saw the left-sided defender earn limited minutes for Preston, having to settle for cameos from the bench up until a move away on loan in February 2021 to Burton Albion.

Josh made eight appearances with the Brewers towards the tail-end of the campaign, the loan move signalling the end of an era for the defender as he left his childhood club for pastures new.

A fresh start was on the horizon for Earl, as he penned a permanent deal with Fleetwood Town ahead of the 22/23 campaign. He quickly asserted himself as an important member of the Cod Army squad and adhered himself to the fanbase with honest, hard-working performances.

                 Earl Fleet.jpg

He missed just nine league games during his maiden campaign, displaying versatility and robust performances in a number of positions across the backline. In the current season, the 25-year-old has only missed four league games for Fleetwood.

The six-foot-four defender now brings those attributes to Oakwell, keen to show everyone what he is capable of as the Reds look to maintain their position near the summit of the standings.

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