New PNE forward Graham Burke aims to follow in footsteps of fellow Irishman

Graham Burke
Graham Burke

Graham Burke aims to hit the ground running at Preston helped by him already being match sharp from his time at Shamrock Rovers.

The 24-year-old joined-up with North End for the start of pre-season training last Thursday, becoming the latest recruit from the League of Ireland.

Over the water, the league campaign runs from February to October so Burke’s move to Deepdale came mid-season.

While the pre-season work will still be tough, Burke hopes the games he has under his belt in 2018 will stand him in good stead.

Burke told the Post: “I feel fit and good coming here off the back of the season in Ireland.

“I’m fully fit and sharp so that should help me - it will help me get through pre-season.

“Pre-season is always tough, no matter what the circumstances, but hopefully it will be slightly easier with having been playing games.”

Burke was one of five summer signings to join-up with Alex Neil’s squad, joining Jordan Storey, Michael Crowe, Ryan Ledson and Andrew Hughes.

The squad trained Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and were back today to step things up.

Burke’s signing is intended to improve North End’s creativity and approach work, while clearly he has an eye for goal - arriving after scoring 13 goals for Shamrock and one for the Republic of Ireland last month.

There is a big step-up to be made from the League of Ireland but Burke sees new PNE team-mate Sean Maguire as an example that it can be done.

Said Burke: “The role that I feel most comfortable in is the one I played at Shamrock Rovers, playing off the front man.

“I can play other positions but it’s that No.10 role I have done well in.

“Sean Maguire has shown what can be done when moving here, it’s brilliant that he scored goals last season.

“He had the injury but scored goals either side of it.”

Burke fitted in a week’s holiday in between signing-off with a goal in his last game for Shamrock and joining North End.

It was a welcome break, the few weeks leading-up to it having been pretty hectic due to his first international call-up, playing for Shamrock and agreeing the switch to Deepdale.

“The interest from Preston came about mid-season in Ireland and I wanted to keep things quiet so that there wasn’t too much speculation,” said Burke.

“Things happened quite quickly, the transfer got done but we waited until the mid-season break was close before anything was announced.

“That seemed the natural time to get it completed.

“I had a brilliant time at Shamrock Rovers, they gave me a chance after I came back from England.

“The dedication of their coaching staff helped with my development and have got me to where I am at the moment.

“Now I start a new chapter here, it’s exciting times.

“The gaffer has just told me to work hard, do my best and everything will go from there.

“I’m in the fortunate position here of knowing the lads who used to play in the League of Ireland, while I played with Callum Robinson and Daniel Johnson during my time as Aston Villa.

“So it was nice to have familiar faces in the dressing room when I came in.”