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Westley swoops for duo

Nicky Hunt

Nicky Hunt

Peter Ridsdale says that injuries in the Preston squad made it necessary to make another dip into the transfer market.

Defenders Nicky Hunt and Aaron Brown have joined North End on short-term deals, bringing the number of new faces at Deepdale to nine since Graham Westley was appointed manager.

Both players were signed in time to face Brentford at the weekend, only for the game to be postponed on Friday lunchtime because of a frozen pitch.

PNE were able to bring them in outside of the transfer window because they were without a club having had their contracts settled up at their former clubs before the deadline.

Westhoughton-born Hunt was previously with Bristol City, while 6ft 5ins Brown was at Aldershot Town.

North End chairman Ridsdale told the Evening Post: “On Friday we got both signings through 30 seconds before the deadline to play on Saturday.

“I think it was important to get them in because there are a few injuries about in the squad at the moment.

“Steven Smith got injured in training on Thursday, while we’ve got Craig Morgan suspended for the next game and he’s got an injury too.

“We want to start putting points on the board as soon as possible, so we need players available for key positions.

“Nicky Hunt can play right-back or centre-back and he would have been in the side against Brentford had the game been on.

“One of the things Graham Westley is trying to do is bring in players who are comfortable in different positions – we want some flexibility within the squad. The two lads we’ve brought in have come on short term deals and we’re pleased to have them here.”

Hunt, 28, made his name at Bolton, making 120 appearances for Wanderers, while he also had loan spells at Birmingham and Derby.

He joined Bristol City at the start of last season but has found opportunities limited at Ashton Gate.

His contract with the Robins was settled up last week, and North End invited him to train with them on Thursday.

Brown, also 28, has been well-travelled in his career, Preston the 14th club he has played for at both Football League and non-league level.

Last May, he joined Aldershot for a second time after being released by Leyton Orient, and made 10 appearances for the Shots this season.

It’s fair to say that neither signing has added greatly to the Deepdale wage bill.

With the Brentford game called-off, Westley organised a full-scale practice match involving all the squad at Springfields on Saturday.

Meanwhile, Ridsdale is pleased that Westley and North End have received a full apology from the Sun newspaper over an article they ran a week ago.

The Sun printed a retraction on Saturday, admitting the report was incorrect.

Said Ridsdale: “We’ve got an apology and our costs, now let’s draw a line under it.”

 

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