Gally as excited as a PNE fan!

Paul Gallagher shapes to shoot home Preston's winner at MK Dons last month

Paul Gallagher shapes to shoot home Preston's winner at MK Dons last month

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Paul Gallagher felt like a supporter as he watched Preston North End do business on transfer deadline day with the double swoop for Stevie May and Eoin Doyle.

Gallagher has since been getting to know the two front men on a professional level during the international break in a bid to strike up a successful on-pitch partnership.

The first chance of playing together comes against Derby County at Deepdale this weekend.

May and Doyle were signed on the last afternoon of the transfer window, in part to replace the injured Jermaine Beckford and in part to bolster a North End forward line which is yet to fire in the Championship.

They have joined Joe Garner and Will Keane in the forward line, the prospect of creating chances for them being one which excites Gallagher.

How PNE manager Simon Grayson intends using that quartet – and also Jordan Hugill when he is fit – is something which will become clearer over the coming months.

Gallagher said: “I was like a fan on transfer deadline day, having a good look at who we were bringing in.

“The manager and staff did good business in signing Stevie and Eoin.

“It was a good time to get them here in that they’ve had the last 10 days or so to get to know us all and to gel as a squad.

“The two lads both think is it sunny in Preston all the time because of how good the weather has been recently – that will soon change!

“I bet they are itching to play – when you sign for a new club you just want to get straight out there and be involved in a game.

“When you look at the records of Stevie and Eoin, they are both goalscorers.

“As a midfielder and creative player like myself, your eyes light up when you get strikers signing.

“These first few training sessions have been about working out how they like to play.

“We have got plenty of options up front now and we need that because this is a demanding and tough league.”

North End resume action with five points on the board from their opening five Championship matches.

That represents a steady start when coupled with two wins in the Capital One Cu p which have carried them through to the third round.

Goals have been hard to come by in the league though, with only Gallagher at MK Dons and Daniel Johnson against Ipswich finding the back of the net.

Hence the arrivals of May and Doyle have been welcomed with open arms.

Said Gallagher: “I think we should have had more points than we have got.

“We have played well in the games but there is playing well, looking good on the eye but not getting any points.

“As a team we have been creating chances but it is important that we take them. The higher up the leagues you go, you are always more capable of letting a goal in if you are not fully switched on.

“So when chances come along , you have to take them.

“That has been the story of the last couple of league games, we have played well but been beaten in both. Against Ipswich we were right on top for the first 20 or 30 minutes then Ipswich nicked a goal.

“We showed good character after that, equalised and it looked like there was only going to be one winner.

“But Ipswich showed a ruthless streak at both ends of the pitch, defending well and then scoring a great goal.

“It was the same sort of thing at Hull, we started really well and had a couple of chances.

“They got a lucky goal when Neil Kilkenny kicked a clearance against one of their lads and it went straight into the net.

“In the second half we played well – Alan Browne put a header just over the bar.

“During that spell, I looked around and some of the Hull lads looked dead on their feet.

“But then they went down the other end and scored a late second goal to finish us off.

“This league is ruthless and we have to learn that quickly.”

At the same time PNE were bringing in May and Doyle, Saturday’s opponents Derby made a double signing of their own with Bradley Johnson and Jacob Butterfield joining.

They cost £10m between them, Bradley arriving for a club-record £6m and Butterfield for £4m.

That took the Rams’ spending beyond £20m for the summer and the intent there is to challenge seriously for promotion.

Derby are familiar foe for Gallagher – who turned 31 earlier in the week – with them being East Midlands rivals to his previous club Leicester.

“I always did well against Derby for Leicester and hopefully I can bring that to Preston,” he said.

“We will have to be on our top game to beat them because their side is packed with quality.

“I have a lot of respect for Derby, they have spent a lot of money.

“I think they spent £10m on deadline day alone.

“The Championship is starting to throw quite a bit of money around – the market went quiet for a couple of years but it seems to have sparked into life.

“There are big clubs with spending power and it is good for us to be in there with them.”