Dave Seddon’s Preston North End Press View: It promises to be a busy summer
Liam Lindsay was the first cab off the rank, so to speak, in terms of Preston North End’s summer transfer business.
A full-time switch to Deepdale had been mooted since his loan from Stoke City ended a month ago.
He had caught the eye enough for North End to want to bring him back, as had Daniel Iversen and Sepp van den Berg.
The deal for Lindsay was more straightforward than the other two, in that Stoke needed him off their wage bill and PNE wanted him in their squad.
Iversen and Van den Berg’s impending returns will be loans, the pair remaining the property of Leicester City and Liverpool.
Had it been stated in early February when Lindsay came to North End or even in March, that he would be coming back in the summer, you might not have believed it.
The Scot had been a final-day-of-the-winter-transfer-window loan to cover the vacancy left by Ben Davies transferring to Liverpool.
Davies had seemed set to remain with the Lilywhites until the end of the season before making a Bosman switch to Celtic.
When Liverpool moved late to take him to Anfield, Preston had to source a replacement.
Cedric Kipre at West Bromwich Albion was one consideration, Lindsay was another.
The pendulum swung the way of former Partick Thistle and Barnsley man Lindsay, who had been sitting on the fringes of Stoke’s bloated squad.
He hadn’t kicked a ball in the first team for 12 months, a place on the bench the odd time as good as it had got.
In terms of the players who arrived on loan during the window, Lindsay was the ‘steady Eddie’ of that group, not generating the excitement of Anthony Gordon, for example.
Lindsay’s debut was in the 2-1 home defeat to Rotherham, a game in which few covered themselves in too much glory.
Six nights later things went far better when PNE beat Blackburn at Ewood Park with Lindsay heading the second goal.
In a 4-0 defeat at Cardiff a fortnight on, Lindsay had a bit of a nightmare with his performance and was to injure a hamstring.
Not for another month did we see the Glaswegian in a Preston shirt as he nursed his injury, one which was the consequence of a burst of games after a lengthy spell of inactivity.
Lindsay got back for the last two games of Alex Neil’s reign, unable to rescue his fellow countryman from getting the sack.
Frankie McAvoy getting the interim head coach job was to coincide with Lindsay properly getting going.
He played in seven of the eight games McAvoy had the ‘interim’ tag next to his title, given the middle role in the back three.
The one Lindsay missed was at parent club Stoke when he had to limit himself to a role of spectator at the bet365 Stadium, something he had been used to doing.
Lindsay’s loan was one he very much grew into it, the same as Van den Berg.
Iversen, I would say, hit the ground running, looking at home straight away.
Gordon and Jayson Molumby couldn’t quite get themselves firing, probably not all of their own doing.
Lindsay’s second goal of his PNE stay was well timed in that it was the winner against Nottingham Forest at a soaking wet City Ground on the final day of the season.
Although not brought in for his goalscoring exploits, finding the net nevertheless was a timely reminder of his presence and impending return to the Potteries.
Some 32 days on from the victory over Forest, Lindsay clinched his return to PNE.
He joins at a good age, 25, with his 26th birthday not until October.
The two-year contract is modest in length, not the three or four-year deals North End have given to others in recent seasons. An element perhaps of ‘prove yourself’ and earn a longer stay?
As football comes out of the Covid era with no fans having been in grounds for well over a year, there’s seemingly a bit of cloth-cutting going on here.
There’s competition in that North End defence for next season. Jordan Storey, Lindsay and Andrew Hughes were the chosen three in McAvoy’s backline.
Van den Berg slotted in there at Stoke as Lindsay’s replacement and the teenager will have designs on more appearances in that central role.
Patrick Bauer will come back into the equation after recovering from a ruptured Achilles tendon.
The German will need to feel his way back in to some extent, having not played since December 1.
At least Bauer will have the pre-season to do that rather than have to ease himself back as the season progresses.
Throw into the equation too Paul Huntington, 305 not out at North End and soon to start a 10th season here.
Lindsay is clearly a well-liked figure in the dressing room, judging by the reaction of his team-mates on social media when he returned.
Ryan Ledson took time out from appearing in the celebrity gossip pages of the national media – that is what dating a former Coronation Street actress does for you – to write on Twitter: “What a signing that is! Love it big man.”
Alan Browne and Van den Berg were among others to give it the thumbs-up,
There’s more business to do and a decent amount of time to do it in, after all Lindsay’s signing came on the first day the summer transfer window was open.
The mad trolley dash of January might have been exciting to watch unfold but in parts didn’t do North End to many favours to start with.
Neil struggled to adapt to the big changes and it was only in final stages of the campaign under McAvoy that things settled down.
As we await further trading this summer, we have watching the Euros to accompany it. Delayed by 12 months, it will be interesting to see how the competition unfolds in the various host cities. Good luck England!