Simon Grayson addresses Jordan Pickford's future amid reports of Sunderland return in January

Preston North End

Simon Grayson is delighted to have Jordan Pickford at Preston.

Preston North End boss Simon Grayson has been quoted by Sporting Life as saying that he isn't sure what the future holds for Jordan Pickford.

Pickford, 21, has come up through the ranks at Sunderland, and after loan spells at Darlington, Alfreton Town, Burton Albion, Carlisle United and Bradford City, the Black Cats sent him out on loan again over the summer, this time sending him to Preston.

The Lilywhites have helped develop two other Premier League goalkeepers in recent years, with Manchester United's Sam Johnstone and Norwich City's Declan Rudd both thriving under goalkeeping coach Alan Kelly.

Now it's Pickford's turn, and you can certainly argue that he has been even better than Johnstone and Rudd before him after a string of dazzling displays.

The England Under-21 international has arguably been Preston's player of the season so far, making a number of outstanding saves to help North End attain one of the best defensive records in the Championship.

His progress at Deepdale hasn't gone unnoticed though, as The Chronicle recently reported that Sunderland boss Sam Allardyce wants to bring Pickford back to the Stadium of Light in January, with the idea of him competing with first choice Costel Pantilimon.

After Pickford's latest man of the match performance against Birmingham, North End boss Simon Grayson has been quoted by Sporting Life as saying that he isn't sure what the future holds for Pickford at Deepdale, whilst also forgiving the youngster for missing a cross which led to Birmingham's goal in a 1-1 draw.

"He was the first to admit when he came in there and apologised for the goal because he's come for it and missed it completely," Grayson said. "We forgive him for that because he kept us in the game anyway. It shows he's got high standards for himself."

"We're very delighted that Sunderland have allowed him to be at our football club. The lad's got a bright future wherever he's going to be. We're just happy to have him and help with his development. We are grateful that we've had him. What will be, will be in the future, we'll see where it goes," he added.

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