On the 27th September 2000, at the young age of 17, Andrew Lonergan made his debut for the club he supported as a boy, Preston North End. That night was one to forget as Preston were annihilated 4-1 at Coventry which meant they were out of the Worthington Cup (Now Carling Cup). You wouldn’t have blamed Lonners for thinking that he had blown his big chance, but he hadn’t, later on that season he played one more game, a 2-1 win over Watford with Lonergan giving an outstanding performance. That would be his last match of the season.
After two loan spells at Darlington and Lancashire rivals Blackpool Lonergan felt he was ready, and was awarded when he was called up as an understudy to Jonathan Gould towards the end of the 2002-03 season. Then probably one of the most important things to happen to Preston ever, Gould was injured for a lengthy period the next season, which meant Lonners took the gloves. He proved that he should have them full-time with outstanding performances.
Just before Craig Brown left Preston in August 2004 Lonergan did something rather amazing, scoring a goal! Not just any goal, one from his own net right into the other. The season seemed to be going perfectly well for Lonners, attracting many admirers, including Manchester United! Sadly midway through the season he broke his hand, Carlo Nash was signed and he took PNE to the play-off final. He went on loan to Wycombe the next season only to rupture his ligaments, a huge setback for the Ex-England u21 goalie. Closing in on recovery Andy Lonergan moved on loan again, this time to Swindon where he only played 1 game.
In January 2007 Nash joined Wigan on loan; this gave Lonergan a chance to regain the form he had in 2004. He did just that, stunning performances made sure he was number 1 and not newly signed Wayne Henderson. Nash signed for Wigan permanently in summer 2007 so Lonners had made the number 1 jersey his own and it still is now. Preston player’s are scared that Premier League interest may tempt Lonergan away from Deepdale as he has shone against Premier League teams Liverpool (FA Cup 2009) and Tottenham (Carling Cup 2009).
Andrew Lonergan has had to go through a lot in his career and not many players can pick themselves up after the kind if things Lonners has been through. Against every Championship team Lonergan has made awesome saves and kept out great shots. Compare him to some of the Championship’s other best goalkeepers and Lonergan is probably one of the top 3 in the League.
Is Andrew Lonergan the best in the Championship?