Former Preston defender Sean St Ledger was impressed with how the Lilywhites got the best out of Aiden McGeady during his time on loan.
St Ledger and McGeady were Republic of Ireland team-mates.
It was a free-kick from McGeady which set up St Ledger to score the Republic’s only goal at Euro 2012.
McGeady spent most of the season just ended on loan at North End from Everton.
Fans voted him the player of the year and attempts are being made to try and bring him back to Deepdale for the 2017/18 campaign.
“Aiden came into his own at Preston as the season went on,” St Ledger told the Post.
“He won a goal of the month award and was in the running for another.
“What he got at North End was some confidence from a manager who put trust in him.
“Aiden probably needed that because he hadn’t been playing at Everton. When you haven’t played for a while, your confidence can take a dip.
“Simon Grayson drew the best out of him and you saw some great performances.
“If Preston could get him back next season, that would be a big boost.
“On his day he is one of the best players at this level and can turn a game.
“While Preston didn’t make the play-offs, they weren’t a million miles away.
“If they could add a few to the squad in the summer and get Aiden back, I don’t see why they can’t challenge again.”
St Ledger, 32, played 200 games for North End during a five-year stay.
He left to join Leicester in July 2011 for £1.5m and more recently was playing in the United States.
The defender played for Orlando City and Colorado Rapids but his career has gone on hold of late because of a knee injury.
He is doing a rehabilitation programme which is being guided by the Munich-based specialist Hans-Wilhem Muller-Wohlfahrt.
All being well, St Ledger should be able to put his knee to the test in pre-season. “I’m back in Manchester now and trying to get my knee sorted out,” said St Ledger.
“When I was playing in the States, I had surgery to clear some debris out of my knee.
“After that the knee was sore and I couldn’t kick the ball without feeling pain – it kept swelling up.
“I’d had the surgery at the Dr Richard Steadman clinic in Colorado and they told me to go and see the German guy, who is an expert in getting players back to fitness.
“I’ve been doing rehab for the last few months and I’m getting towards the end of it.
“I go to Munich every few weeks for a check-up, so it’s far easier to be based here than out in America.
“The knee feels a lot better, a lot stronger, the best it has felt for along time.
“What I’m looking to do next is join in a pre-season somewhere to test my knee.
“I know quite a few people in the game so hopefully I can get the chance to train with a club on trial and just see if my knee is up to training and playing.”