Major William Sudell, the manager of a local factory, became the secretary of Preston North End. Sudell decided to improve the quality of the team by importing top players from other areas. In 1883 he persuaded Nick Ross to join the club. As well as paying him to play for the team he arranged for him to obtain a good job as a slater in Preston.
Ross was made captain of Preston North End and over the next few years developed an excellent reputation as one of the best defenders playing in England.
Preston played against West Bromwich Albion in the FA Cup Final in 1887-88. According to reports, Preston was much the better team and Bob Roberts, the WBA goalkeeper made good saves from Fred Dewhurst, Jimmy Ross, John Goodall and George Drummond. Dewhurst did eventually score but WBA won the game 3-1 and Nick Ross was denied a winning medal.
At the end of that season Ross was transferred to Everton. It is claimed he was paid £10 a month, nearly twice that of most top players. As a result of this move Ross, unlike his brother, Jimmy Ross, missed being a member of the team that won the Football League title and FA Cup in 1888-89.
Ross returned to Preston North End after only one season away and was a member of the side that won the league in 1889-90. During his second spell he played at centre forward and scored 25 goals in 95 games. Ross had health problems and was forced to retire in 1893.
Nick Ross died of consumption in 1894.