Paul Gallagher hopes that the enjoyment Aiden McGeady got from his successful loan spell with Preston can lead to him coming back next season.
PNE midfielder Gallagher felt that McGeady benefited from the ‘shackles coming off’ at Deepdale.
The Republic of Ireland winger was voted player of the year by North End fans after scoring eight goals in 33 starts.
He is now back at Everton at the conclusion of the loan spell, with Preston hoping to strike a deal to bring him back this summer.
“If you speak to Aiden, he loves it here,” Gallagher told the Post.
“From my experience, when you are happy you play well.
“You could see on his face that he enjoyed it when he played for us.
“He was not afraid to take people on, whereas at Everton he was a bit under pressure and probably afraid to have a bad game because he would have got dropped for the next one.
“Here, the shackles were off and that helped him a lot.
“I’m sure the two clubs will be talking and I’m sure other clubs will have a look too due to the goals and assists he got here.
“Geads is a quality player and when you look at his international record – 80-odd caps – he’s a proper professional.
“He came here to Preston and did everything right.
“Most importantly, Geads enjoyed it and played with a smile on his face.
“From my experience, the manager lets you come here to enjoy yourself and to express yourself – as an attacking player that’s great.
“That way, you are not afraid to try things and try them again. That’s a good feeling, to have the belief from the gaffer. I’ve had that over the years here.”
Gallagher was in the same boat three years ago to the one McGeady is in now.
He had spent most of the 2013/14 on loan at Deepdale from Leicester City.
When PNE wanted him again for the 2014/15 season, it took a lot of negotiation with the Foxes to get him back.
Gallagher did return on loan and helped North End to promotion via the play-offs.
Shortly after Wembley, he signed on a permanent deal after his contract at Leicester came to an end.
McGeady has a year left on his Everton contract.
Preston have to make a deal fit financially, the contract McGeady is on at the Toffees being a lucrative one agreed when he signed from Spartak Moscow in January 2014.
McGeady has international duty to keep him occupied for the next few weeks.
He is due to join up with the Republic of Ireland squad at Fota Island this week.
PNE team-mates Daryl Horgan and Andy Boyle will be in that training squad which will consist of players who played in the Championship this season.
The Irish fly out to New York at the weekend to play Mexico, then face Uruguay in a Dublin friendly.
On June 11, Martin O’Neill’s men play Austria in a World Cup qualifier.