PNE’s decent bit of business

Right-back Marnick Vermijl
Right-back Marnick Vermijl
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The deadline-day deals for Stevie May and Eoin Doyle turned a satisfactory transfer window into what looks a pretty decent one for Preston North End.

This summer’s intention was to raise the quality level ready for the Championship and the incoming dealings appear to do that.

May and Doyle took the number of arrivals to nine, a figure which seems par of the course in the division.

Some clubs have been a bit busier, Sheffield Wednesday adding 15 players.

Fulham and Rotherham brought in 12.

North End are around the middle bracket in terms of numbers, Cardiff the least busy in terms of incoming deals, doing four.

Two of Preston’s summer signings were the conversion of loans for Paul Gallagher and Jermaine Beckford into permanent deals.

Some might choose not to count them but the fact is both could quite easily have gone elsewhere at the end of last season and securing them as full-time North End players has not been cheap.

Beckford, of course, is currently laid up after knee surgery and likely to be sidelined until December.

Had he not suffered the injury, bringing in another striker was still on Simon Grayson’s to-do list.

The news on Beckford’s knee though, certainly hastened the need to do further business up front.

Getting both May and Doyle was a real bonus, with the front line probably looking the best-covered area of the squad now.

Initially, it looked like being a case of one or the other, but being able to bring in two can only be of benefit.

They join Joe Garner, Will Keane – another summer recruit – and Jordan Hugill in the list of strikers available. Keane is still relatively inexperienced, as is Hugill, so May and Doyle can add a relatively decent number of first-team games to the mix.

Yes, they might only have had one season and half a season respectively in the Championship.

But these latest two additions have plenty to prove and seem very eager to do so.

The goalkeeper department has seen two arrivals in Jordan Pickford and Chris Kirkland.

Sam Johnstone was the initial target but with Manchester United’s keeper situation reaching soap opera proportions, changing course and going for Pickford looks a wiser move by the day.

Kirkland, with a career of Premier League football in his locker, is valuable back-up and the perfect foil to Pickford’s relative youth.

As with the keepers, there was a change of course too with the right-back.

The long wait for Tendayi Darikwa was to eventually prove fruitless, Marnick Vermijl arriving instead.

Vermijl has yet to unseat Tom Clarke when they have played a flat back four but has featured at right wing-back and in a wide midfield role.

Across on the other side of the field, left-back Greg Cunningham was impressing until his hamstring injury.

The loan window will offer a further opportunity for doing business, the centre-half which eluded Grayson on deadline day likely to be back on the shopping list.

Many fans would like to see a winger arrive too.

However, Grayson seems to prefer systems which do not necessarily need out-and-out wingers, the width coming from attackers pulling out wide or from wing-backs.