JACK Baxter’s two-month loan at Stalybridge Celtic has been cut short by Championship club Preston North End after only one appearance.
But assistant manager Ian Johnson said a return to Bower Fold for Baxter is something they would explore if Preston made the 20-year-old midfielder available again.
Signed by Celtic for two months at the start of November, Baxter returned to Deepdale because he was needed as cover for the first team whose squad was ravaged by injury. He has already been named a substitute for one match.
Baxter signed at the start of November, only three days before the country went into a second national lockdown and managed only one appearance, a goalless draw at Grantham Town the day after joining.
Highly regarded by Preston manager Alex Neil, Baxter had loan spells at Clitheroe last season and Emirates FA Cup giantkillers Chorley in the current campaign.
Chorley-based Baxter has been at Preston since Under-9s and became a professional in 2017.
Manager Simon Haworth has forged strong links with Preston having last season loaned Adam O’Reilly and Ethan Walker from the Deepdale club.
Celtic have also signed goalkeeper Grant Shenton on a season-long loan from Buxton.
Shenton is no stranger as he made 30 appearances for Celtic in 2016-17 season while on loan from Ashton United.
He had previously played for Ramsbottom United and FC United and since leaving Ashton has appeared for Chester and Buxton.
There has been an exodus of loan players who have returned to their parent clubs.
Loan striker Lewis Salmon was recalled by Altrincham after Celtic’s season was suspended.
And Salmon found himself on the bench for the Robins’ National League game against Solihull Moors shortly after returning to Moss Lane.
Salmon scored three goals in 11 appearances for Celtic and there is a chance he could return to Celtic when the season resumes.
Full-back Jordan Helliwell has returned to Championship club Barnsley and striker Will Goodwin to Chester FC where he has broken into the National League North side.
And left-back James Ellison has returned to Emirates FA Cup giantkillers Marine following his loan spell at Bower Fold.
Also leaving is out-of-favour left back Ben Woods, a summer signing from West Didsbury and Chorlton, who has joined Mossley.
Centre-back Tom Wilson joined Belper Town in a short-term loan for the month of November, but he is now back at Celtic.
Former Sheffield United academy player Wilson, signed in the summer from Hallam FC, made six appearances for Celtic.
Striker Harry Freedman has joined Glossop North End on what has been described as a ‘gentleman’s agreement’ as Celtic would be able to recall him if needed by Haworth.
Freedman made 25 appearances for Celtic since signing in September 2019.