PNE new boy aims to show his quality

Andy Little is eager to prove himself in English football

Andy Little is eager to prove himself in English football

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The desire to prove himself in English football was the deciding factor behind Andy Little’s decision to sign for Preston North End.

The 25-year-old striker moved south of the border earlier this week after being released by Scottish giants Rangers.

Despite offers from several SPL clubs and opportunities abroad, Little’s mind was virtually made up as soon as PNE boss Simon Grayson made his interest known.

And if he needed any last-minute persuasion before signing on the dotted line then a few wise words from his agent Colin Murdoch – who enjoyed a six-year spell at Deepdale between 1997 and 2003 – sealed the deal.

“There was interest in me right from the off, initially in Scotland,” Little told the Evening Post.

“There were a few SPL clubs who showed an interest and there were a few other clubs in England and abroad, particularly in America.

“I think I really wanted to come to England to play because that is sort of the best standard in terms of competition. I know it’s a very tough league.

“Preston were one of the first clubs to show a proper interest in me. I think also a big factor for me was my agent Colin Murdoch played for Preston for six years.

“He could not speak highly enough of the club.

“So that was a major factor for me to know that he knew the club and the area.”

Born in Enniskillen, in Northern Ireland, Little was playing for Ballinamallard United when he was spotted by Rangers as a raw 17-year-old in 2006. He made his SPL debut for the club in 2009 but was something of a bit-part player initially and was loaned out to Port Vale in 2011.

It was during the 2012-13 season, when Rangers were demoted to the Scottish Third Division, that Little was afforded his first real opportunity to establish himself at Ibrox.

He hit 25 goals as the Glasgow club stormed to the league title and was a key figure again last season – despite a nasty facial injury which kept him on the sidelines for a period – as Rangers secured successive promotions.

Little admits it came as a bolt out of the blue when manager Ally McCoist told him he would not be offered a new deal.

“It was a massive shock,” Little said. “I was fully expecting to sign a new contract and stay there.

“The manager had spoken to me throughout the season.

“I loved every minute of my time there. It is a massive club and I had eight great years there.

“But these things happen in football.

“I think they needed to offload some players and I was the collateral, if you like.

“I was one of the players who was coming to the end of their contract.

“I think at a club like Rangers you just have to accept things like that sometimes. It’s dog eat dog.

“I think the manager wanted to keep me but sometimes if there’s another player he fancies more than you, he has to make that choice.”