Familiar faces at PNE

There has been a degree of familiarity about Simon Grayson's recruitment since the end of last season.
Marnick VermijlMarnick Vermijl
Marnick Vermijl

Ten signings have arrived at Deepdale since the 11th-placed finish in the Championship in May but half aren’t new to the club or manager.

Four, Marnick Vermijl, Anders Lindegaard, Eoin Doyle and Callum Robinson have previously been on loan with PNE while one of the deadline day signings, Alex Baptiste, was signed by Grayson for Blackpool back in 2008.

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Aiden McGeady, Chris Maxwell, Tommy Spurr, Simon Makienok and Ben Pringle are the true new faces.

While familiarity has its benefits for a manager - knowing what you’re going to get - the PNE boss insists there are other factors at work, namely the players’ desire to pull on the white shirt.

In a transfer window where money has done the talking, Grayson was keen to bring in players who had other motives for making a move, not just the bottom line on their bank balance.

He said: “They are players I know but they are players that desperately wanted to come.

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“There were a lot of players that were available that were just interested in the salary.

“But it’s not about the money.

“We want players who want to play for the football club.

“The salaries and transfer fees have become so exaggerated.

“We want players to come for the right reasons.”

Everton loanee Aiden McGeady was one who did all he could to seal a North End switch, missing Robbie Keane’s final appearance for the Republic of Ireland to get a deal over the line as time was running out on.

While his deal came a little out of the blue as he was frozen out at Goodison Park, the pursuit of both Vermijl and Baptiste had been dragging a little bit before they were also sealed before the window shut.

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The former’s dated right back to when he returned to Sheffield Wednesday after a successful loan spell at the end of the previous campaign.

North End bided their time as the asking price for a player who wasn’t going to feature much, if at all, under Carlos Carvahal, came down.

PNE also had to wait patiently for Middlesbrough to get their own house in order before Baptiste could move on, the versatile defender having spent the end of last season on loan at Sheffield United having broken his leg just 20 minutes into his Boro debut.

Everything sorted shortly before Wednesday’s deadline, Grayson was pleased to have ample cover after Calum Woods’ season-ending knee injury.

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He said: “Alex Baptiste and Marnick had been going on for about 10 days to two weeks so we were pleased to get them done.

“Marnick can play as a right back, a right wing back or in a more attacking role.

“We know all about him and we agreed a fee we felt was right with Sheffield Wednesday.

“Boro have been waiting for a couple of players to come back.

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“He’s been on the bench in the Premier League and we’re prepared to wait for players that will improve us.

“We’re delighted to get him.

“Other clubs were in for them and they’re two good additions in positions that need filling.”