Preston North End’s business in the January transfer window showed that Graham Westley isn’t afraid to go shopping in the lower leagues.
Andy Procter, Chris Holroyd and Chris Robertson were all recruited from League Two clubs, while North End tapped into the Irish market to sign Graham Cummins from Cork City.
PNE believe they all have the talent to succeed in League One, and from a financial point of view, they’ve been recruited on wages in line with this level of football and the revenue generated at Deepdale.
Westley said: “I think there is a massive amount of untapped talent lower down.
“I love hungry players and if you pick the right ones, they’ll go on and do well.
“Steve Morison is scoring goals in the Premier League for Norwich – not too long ago he was scoring goals for me at Stevenage in the Conference.
“If you get out there, look at games and can spot a player, there is an abundance of talent to be had.
“I’ve heard some people ask if these lads are Preston players because they have come from a lower division?
“But I was talking to Graham Alexander the other day, and he was saying that the side David Moyes built here had a lot of hunger in it and people who wanted to prove themselves.”
Midfielder Procter and centre-half Robertson are two players who probably didn’t have Westley down as their most favourite person in the world following last season’s League Two play-offs.
Proctor was in the Accrington Stanley team beaten by Westley’s Stevenage at the semi-final stage, while Robertson played for Torquay in the final against Boro at Old Trafford and finished on the losing side.
With Procter, it was a case of second time lucky when it came to Westley signing him.
And he’s kept tabs on Robertson, knowing that the 25-year-old would have been out of contract at Torquay in the summer, hence being able to sign him for a knock-down fee.
Said Westley: “Andy Procter is desperate to get his career going even further forward.
“He had 10 good years at Accrington and was successful there, a really good servant.
“I tried to sign Andy last summer, I’ve known about him since his Conference days. He’s a cracking lad and someone I’ve always admired.
“Geographic reasons meant I didn’t manage to sign him for Stevenage in the summer, but now I’m at a club closer to his home, it was much easier to attract him.”