Dave Seddon’s PNE Press View

Will Keane holds up his Preston shirt after moving to Deepdale on loan from Manchester United this week
Will Keane holds up his Preston shirt after moving to Deepdale on loan from Manchester United this week
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Preston North End’s signing of Will Keane this week appears to have calmed the nerves of some of the Deepdale faithful.

A degree of anxiety had set in among a section of fans over an apparent lack of incoming transfer activity.

That was ignoring the deals done for Jermaine Beckford and Paul Gallagher, turning their loans into permanent moves.

Why, in the eyes of some, those two did not class as signings just because they had been here on loan first, is something of a puzzle.

Had Beckford and Gallagher been captured having not previously been on loan, think of the fanfare.

The pair could well be the marquee signings of the summer – an 18-goal striker and the player with the most assists in the league last season.

Nevertheless, Keane’s arrival on Wednesday night was a most welcome one.

It caught the imagination and trended on social media.

Any deal which involves Manchester United is always going to attract attention.

Keane had the endorsement of Rio Ferdinand and Andy Cole, both of whom tweeted to back the striker to score goals in a PNE shirt.

He does seem highly thought of at United, despite only having four minutes of first-team football in a red shirt under his belt at the age of 22.

But let us remember that Keane lost 16 months of his career to a torn cruciate ligament.

Ironically, that was an injury which he suffered at Deepdale playing for England Under-19s three years ago.

The England youngsters played twice in Preston in the space of a few days, beating Slovenia 5-0 – Keane netted twice – and Switzerland 1-0.

It was an hour into the clash with the Swiss that Keane was hurt in a challenge and left the pitch that evening on a stretcher.

Hopefully he can exorcise those demons during the coming season and help North End establish themselves back in the Championship.

Keane, Beckford and Joe Garner is certainly a dangerous looking forward line.

Also there is the raw talent of Jordan Hugill as back-up, a latecomer to the full-time game which much to offer.

Steadily, the rough edges are being knocked off Hugill’s game, his loan spell at Hartlepool last season seemingly a big learning curve.

Can we expect to see Keane, Beckford and Garner start in a front three?

It would certainly be an ultra attacking approach but is a possibility in a 4-3-3 system.

Simon Grayson used that formation well last term, spreading three attacking players across the front.

Alternatively, Keane could be used in the hole behind the front two.

Grayson wants to have plenty of options at that end of the pitch.

Strikers get kicked, get hurt, can have a dip in form.

The pace of the modern game is such that few players feature in all 46 league games.

Garner missed 10 weeks of last season with the detached shin tendon, Beckford had an illness absence and also played the last seven games with a broken big toe.

Mind you, his Wembley treble all came from his sore left foot.

It shows that depth is needed to the squad, the signing of Keane evidence of Grayson’s thinking.

For now, the forward line seems to have all the pieces of the jigsaw in place.

At the back there is still work to be done and the indications are that further business is not too far off.

Both full-back positions need attention and of course there is the goalkeeper issue.

It will be interesting to see how long North End wait for Sam Johnstone to become available – has a PNE loan deal ever hinged on Real Madrid’s next move in the transfer market?

In theory, there will come a time when Preston seek an alternative, should Johnstone still be at Old Trafford.

But the feeling inside Deepdale is that they will get their man with a degree of patience.

The wait means North End will be without Johnstone for some of their friendly games.

The friendly fire starts at Chorley – from Wembley to Victory Park in the space of just 49 days.

I have watched and covered enough friendlies to know that not a huge amount of significance can be attached them in terms of the result.

Wins are nice but nothing more, defeats not the end of the world by any means.

Primarily they are fitness exercises, albeit supporters have to part with a fair few quid to watch them – they do start to whet the appetite though, for August 9.