PNE complete deadline day hat-trick

Aiden McGeady missed Robbie Keane's final international to complete his move to PNE.

Aiden McGeady missed Robbie Keane's final international to complete his move to PNE.

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Preston North End beat the deadline to make a hat-trick of new signings as the window shut last night.

Marnick Vermijl has returned to Deepdale on a permanent deal from Sheffield Wednesday for an undisclosed fee while two players have arrived on season-long loans.

Middlesbrough’s former Blackpool defender Alex Baptiste has been snapped up but the most eye-catching signing of all is that of Aiden McGeady from Everton. Deemed surplus to requirements at Goodison Park, the 30-year-old Republic of Ireland international winger spent the end of the previous Championship campaign on loan at Sheffield Wednesday.

At one point in the day he looked to be heading to Denmark to join Odense BK but PNE moved quickly to get their man.

The former Celtic and Spartak Moscow midfielder completed the deal from Dublin where he was preparing for international duty with Martin O’Neill’s squad, having to miss Robbie Keane’s final game against Oman last night to finalise the paperwork.

McGeady, who has won 85 caps for his country, said: “It was only on Tuesday that I heard it might be a possibility and then by the morning I had heard that it wasn’t happening and was off the table and then I heard that it was back on again.

“I didn’t want the risk of it not happening by going to the game.

“It was obviously Robbie Keane’s last game, but there is paperwork that has to get signed and I thought I might have to do a medical, so I was anxious about what might happen, but the manager was fine with me, he understood the situation, so I stayed behind when the team left and got all the paperwork through and sorted.”

Baptiste, also 30, can play as right-back or central defender and was signed by PNE boss Simon Grayson when he was in charge at Blackpool back in 2008.

The former Bolton man suffered a broken leg shortly after joining Boro in the summer of 2015 and finished last season on loan at Sheffield United.

He said: “I know how passionate the fans are here and obviously I have played here a few times and the stadium is great.

“I know the area quite well too, so I’m looking forward to it.”

Right-back Vermijl, who spent last season on loan with the Lilywhites, has signed a three-year deal having been linked with a return throughout the summer. The Hillsborough club had been looking for a seven-figure transfer fee earlier in the summer but have since lowered the asking price for a player that was unlikely to feature regularly.

The 24-year-old Belgian said: “I had a great time last season, so now I know the club, I know how it works and I know everyone at the club.

“It’ll make it a lot easier.”

The deadline day recruitment takes the new arrivals at PNE since the end of last season to 10.