PNE boss pleased with signing of utility man

Calum Woods
Calum Woods
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Preston North End are looking for new recruit Calum Woods to offer the same sort of defensive versatility which Tom Clarke has done since making the same move from Huddersfield.

Woods has agreed a two-year contract with the Lilywhites, that coming into play on July 1 when his deal with the Terriers comes to an end.

It was last summer that Clarke moved from Huddersfield to Preston in similar circumstances.

He proved a big success, making the highest number of appearances for an outfield player in the PNE squad in 2013/14 and contributing some vital goals.

Like Clarke, 27-year-old Woods can play in a variety of positions. It is that versatility which tempted North End boss Simon Grayson to team-up with Woods for a second time.

“I worked with Calum at Huddersfield and he is a really good lad,” said Grayson.

“He is a versatile player and can play in either full-back position, at centre-back and even in midfield if asked to.

“When I saw that he was available I just felt he was a good acquisition to have in the squad.”

A few eyebrows were raised in West Yorkshire when Woods was released by Huddersfield.

He made 81 appearances for them in a three-season stay, including the 2011/12 League One play-off final.

Prior to joining Huddersfield, Woods had been with Scottish side Dunfermline for five years.

The Pars gave him his route into first-team football after Woods had started out in Liverpool’s academy.

The pre-season friendly against Liverpool on July 19 is likely to be Woods’ Deepdale debut.

He became North End’s second signing in four days after goalkeeper Jamie Jones joined from Leyton Orient.

Like Woods, Jones’ two-year contract starts on July 1.

With a keeper and defender in the bag, the focus of Preston’s recruitment will now be trained further up the pitch.

They are working on deals to bring Paul Gallagher and Neil Kilkenny back to Deepdale.

A loan move for Gallagher is at the moment very much in the hands of his parent club Leicester.

Midfield Kilkenny has been offered a new contract, with talks currently taking place.

A new striker is high priority, North End looking at a number of different options.

It is likely that they will need to pay a transfer fee to land the type of quality they want.

Their list of targets does not include Craig Davies, the striker having spent the second-half of last season with them on loan from Bolton Wanderers.

Meanwhile, former Preston midfielder Ryan Croasdale has joined Sheffield Wednesday on a 12-month contract.

Lancaster-born Croasdale was told by PNE last month that he was not being offered a new deal.

The teenager has teamed-up with former North End youth coach Dean Ramsdale at Wednesday – he is now the Owls’ academy manager.

Ramsdale said: “I’ve known Ryan a long time and I’m really pleased that he has joined us.”