Permanent PNE move for Gallagher

Paul Gallagher has signed for Preston

Paul Gallagher has signed for Preston

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Playmaker Paul Gallagher has turned his lengthy loan stay at Preston North End into a permanent transfer.

The midfielder penned a two-year deal with the Lilywhites after talks at Deepdale on Tuesday afternoon.

He moves to North End on a Bosman having been released by Leicester City at the end of his contract.

Gallagher had been on loan with PNE from the Foxes since the end of October 2013.

He initially joined for the remainder of the 2013/14 campaign and then last summer, agreed to return on a season-long loan.

In the 2007/08 season, Gallagher had a 19-game loan spell with Preston while on Blackburn’s books.

PNE manager Simon Grayson made signing Gallagher full-time one of his priorities this summer.

Grayson said: “Paul has felt like our player for the last 18 months even though he’s been on loan.

“He feels settled, he feels comfortable and we saw this season his all round game and what he can do - his delivery from set pieces, his passing range, and also playing more centrally and showing his capabilities in there.

“We said that we wanted to keep the nucleus of the team together.

“At any football club players move on and new ones come in but we have kept the nucleus here.

“We’ve been working hard to secure these signatures over the last week or so and again we are working on new signings over the next few days and weeks as well.

“So it’s all positive news that these players want to be a part of a football club that can hopefully keep progressing year in year out.”

Gallagher’s signing came just a few hours after top scorer Joe Garner penned a new three-year contract.

Jermaine Beckford agreed a full-time move to Deepdale earlier in the month, while John Welsh, Chris Humphrey, Tom Clarke and Paul Huntington have signed new deals since the end of last season.

Gallagher provided the most assists in League One in the campaign just finished, while he also scored 13 goals.

Two of his assists came in the play-off victory over Swindon at Wembley before injury forced his early exit from the action.