Dave Seddon’s pressview

NEIGHBOURS: Thorsten Stuckmann and Scott Laird embrace after the win over  Peterborough United last season

NEIGHBOURS: Thorsten Stuckmann and Scott Laird embrace after the win over Peterborough United last season

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Sale boards will be going up outside two houses in Longridge as neighbours Thorsten Stuckmann and Scott Laird bid farewell to Preston North End.

The popular pair announced their exits from Deepdale within 24 hours of each this week, both crossing the Pennines for new challenges.

Stuckmann put pen to paper at Doncaster in his search for regular first-team football, Laird venturing a little further along the M180 to land at Scunthorpe United.

During their respective stays at North End, both fell very much into the ‘fans’ favourite’ category and for good reason.

Not just for what they did on the pitch but also off it, Stucki and Laird being as down to earth as they come and being a big part of the spirit in the dressing room.

Until being unveiled at Doncaster, Stuckmann was PNE’s second longest-serving player in the current squad behind Bailey Wright. He first landed on these shores in July 2011 as a trialist for Preston in a friendly against Morecambe.

David Lucas, back for the night as a trialist, played the first 45 minutes before giving way to Stuckmann at half-time.

One of his first tasks after coming on was to save a penalty, something we would later become quite used to.

It was to be a false start for Stuckmann though, the deal to sign Iain Turner going through the following day.

Wind the clock three months and the call went out to him again when Turner aggravated an old toe injury in a bout of wrestling at Springfields – seriously, he did. I got a tip-off at the time to inform me ‘the big German bloke from the summer’ was heading back.

Too late to be registered for an awful 5-2 defeat at Charlton, his debut came in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy against Rochdale.

He saved three penalties that night at Spotland as the tie went to a shoot-out.

Stuckmann was to save another penalty when the sides met in the league 11 days later. He was to go one better than that more recently, scoring from the spot as Preston’s JPT tie against Oldham went to penalties.

The fact that Stuckmann totted up 77 appearances in three-and-a-half years was behind this week’s move away.

A contract offer was made to him to extend his stay but he wants a regular game which Doncaster can offer.

You would argue with some strength that the 34-year-old should be leaving with more than 77 games under his belt.

I never saw the reasoning behind him having to share the gloves with Steve Simonsen for the first-half of 2012/13.

His return to the side in the season just finished might also have been a week or two later than it should have.

However, Declan Rudd’s selection ahead of him from February 2013 through to May 2014 was justified.

The same thinking applies to Sam Johnstone taking over the gloves from him in January.

North End have certainly been blessed with two talented loan keepers of late, hence why Stuckmann leaves with less performances than he would have liked.

He goes though, with the goodwill and thanks of the Deepdale faithful for his loyal and patient service.

It was a joy to see him on the pitch at Wembley spraying team-mates and his manager with champagne.

Stuckmann might not have got further than the bench that afternoon but he encapsulated the spirit of the squad.

Sat next to him for much of the final was Laird before being introduced to the fray as an 81st minute substitute.

I am glad he got a slice of the action, Wembley not being a bad place to bow out.

Laird’s return to the side was one of a number of aspects which got North End’s season pointing in the right direction after the January wobble.

He got back in for the FA Cup replay at Sheffield United which was to be a key night in the campaign.

That set up the fifth round meeting with Manchester United and for 18 second-half minutes, PNE dared to dream thanks to Laird’s goal.

Off he went hurdling over the advertising boards in a crazy celebration.

In the league, Laird was not on the losing side after his return to the side until the final day at Colchester.

To say I was surprised to learn he had turned down the offer from PNE in favour of Scunthorpe, was a bit of an under-statement.

Maybe he feared a lesser role in the higher division but many are of the opinion Laird could have coped.

Whatever his reasons, he left Deepdale with the same goodwill as his pal Stuckmann had done the day before.