Sunderland goalkeeper Jordan Pickford is keeping focused on his loan spell at Preston, despite the change of manager at the Stadium of Light.
Ex-Sunderland boss Dick Advocaat agreed to let hot prospect Pickford spend a season on loan in the Championship during the summer, rather than keeping the 21-year-old on Wearside as a back-up stopper.
But with Advocaat now gone, successor Sam Allardyce has to keep abreast of Pickford’s progress from afar, with the England Under-21 international catching the eye at Deepdale.
With Sunderland stopper Costel Pantilimon making costly mistakes in each of the last two games, some supporters have begun to question whether Pickford should be recalled in the January transfer window.
But Washington-born Pickford is concentrating on continuing his development in the Championship after growing used to the cycle of managerial changes at Sunderland.
“I obviously hear about what is happening back at Sunderland, with them being the club I’m on loan from,” said Pickford.
I’m only 21, time is on my side and I’m still learning about the gameJordan Pickford
“The goalkeeper coach has stayed, so has the assistant first-team coach Paul Bracewell – people who I have contact with.
“So things are not that different from my point of view.
“To be honest, there have been quite a few changes of manager since I joined Sunderland.
“What I need to do is keep my focus on doing well here at Preston.
“In the summer I could have stayed at Sunderland but the previous manager and sporting director thought I would benefit from being out on loan and playing matches.
“I’m only 21, time is on my side and I’m still learning about the game.
“It is down to me to do well with Preston, put in consistent performances and push on.”
Pickford’s performances for both club and country have alerted several of Sunderland’s top flight rivals, with Spurs, Aston Villa and Manchester United scouts keeping tabs on him.
But after gradually making his way through the leagues during loan spells at Darlington, Alfreton, Burton, Carlisle, Bradford and now Preston, he is glad to be playing regularly in the Championship.
“Going out on loan has been a massive thing in my career so far,” he added.
“It is up to me to make the step forward each time and I think I have done that.
“The more games I play, the more I will mature and the more I mature, the better I will become as a goalkeeper.
“With each loan move, things do get a bit easier when it comes to adapting to a new club.”