Ex-Motherwell manager Ian Baraclough says that Louis Moult can reach the English Premier League with Preston

Ian Baraclough pictured during a 1-0 Motherwell league victory at Inverness Caley on the opening day of the 2015-2016 Scottish Premiership season
Ian Baraclough pictured during a 1-0 Motherwell league victory at Inverness Caley on the opening day of the 2015-2016 Scottish Premiership season

The man who signed Louis Moult for Motherwell nearly three years ago reckons the striker can be a future English Premier League regular...with new club Preston North End.

Ian Baraclough (47) brought Moult – who made his Preston debut as a substitute in the 1-1 draw against Birmingham on Saturday – to Fir Park from National League outfit Wrexham in the summer of 2015.

Louis Moult waves goodbye to Motherwell fans last month, having netted 50 goals for the club during a two-and-a-half-year spell (Pic by Angie Isac)

Louis Moult waves goodbye to Motherwell fans last month, having netted 50 goals for the club during a two-and-a-half-year spell (Pic by Angie Isac)

And, in an exclusive interview, Bara told the Motherwell Times that there’s no reason why Moult, who joined English Championship side Preston from ’Well for £450,000 on January 1, can’t help the Lilywhites to promotion within a couple of seasons.

“It may be that Louis gets into a successful Preston team and they end up getting promoted,” said current Northern Ireland under-21s gaffer Baraclough.

“Look at Glenn Murray who’s now in the Premier League with Brighton.

“He was once at Rochdale in the lowest division and has ended up scoring goals regularly at Brighton, which is superb to see.

“So why not Louis? He has made a similar progression.

“People shouldn’t assume Louis would have to leave Preston to play in the English Premier League. The Championship is really competitive. Every year there are clubs you expect to be at the top but they don’t end up getting promoted.

“Yet teams like Huddersfield and Bournemouth have made it and they were seen as mid-table Championship sides.

“So there is no reason why Preston can’t get promoted.”

Although Baraclough was sacked as ’Well gaffer after only nine months, he remains popular with a large section of fans for being the man who led the club to a memorable 6-1 two-legged Premiership play-off victory over Rangers in May 2015.

To put that achievement into context, Motherwell have only beaten the Ibrox giants three times in the last 15 years and two of those games were under Baraclough.

And the English gaffer, who also brought winger Marvin Johnson (since sold for around £650,000) to Fir Park, can claim some responsibility for the third one as well as it was two goals from that man Moult which sunk Rangers in this season’s Betfred Cup semi-final at Hampden.

“I take great pride from signing Louis,” added Baraclough.

“I know I have played a part in helping him get to the next level or another level.

“It has built up my own confidence with regards to finding other players.

“I always felt that, from a young age until the time that he got into the Motherwell team, Louis could score goals at any level.

“I’m really pleased that he has done really well for Motherwell.

“Preston have some good players and the thing that Louis has to do is get in the starting 11.

“I think he will take time to adapt to the pace and physicality of the Championship, which is a step up from the Scottish Premier League.”