Preston North End boss Alex Neil hopes the arrival of Andre Green at Deepdale can bring goals and more creativity to the Lilywhites’ front line.
Green, 21, became North End’s third summer signing following the arrivals of David Nugent and Patrick Bauer.
He goes straight into the PNE’s squad for tomorrow’s season opener at Millwall.
Neil said: “Andre played the second half of season at Aston Villa in a team that was promoted.
“We are very hopeful that his directness, his pace and his creativity will add to our frontline and that he will score and supply goals.”
North End see Green as a player who can help fill the void left by Callum Robinson’s sale to Sheffield United.
In fact, Green referenced Robinson – another product of Villa’s youth academy – after putting pen to paper.
Green said: “Everything is exciting and I can’t wait to get started and meet the lads.
“I had a good season in the Championship last year and I am excited to be here to bring that experience I have had into this team.
“Hopefully I can bring some extra power to the attack and we can go somewhere this season.
“The gaffer has said he wants to improve me as a player.
“As a winger you can see what happened to Callum Robinson and how much he improved over the course of last season.
“He wants me to come away from this season as a better player – I need to add goals to my game and he is confident I can do that.”
Green came through the Villa academy and made his debut for them in the Premier League in 2016.
He played for them in the Championship for the next two seasons before dropping down to League One early last season to join Portsmouth on loan.
In January he was recalled by Villa boss Dean Smith and went on to play 17 times in their promotion push.
One of those appearances was a substitute in the Championship play-off final against Derby County at Wembley.
The arrival of Green is likely to spark more transfer dealings, both in and out of North End.
They are reportedly closing-in on Coventry City’s 20-year-old midfielder Tom Bayliss who is is regarded as one of the most highly-rated young players in League One.
It will take a seven-figure fee to secure his services, Bayliss operating in a midfield ‘technician’ role similar to that of Paul Gallagher and Daniel Johnson.
There was talk of a move for former Manchester United, Sunderland and Crystal Palace striker Fraizer Campbell who is a free agent after leaving Hull City in the summer.
But while North End did meet Campbell and his representatives for talks, it is not thought a deal is likely at this stage with Green’s arrival perhaps overtaking that.
On the departure front, Josh Earl could be heading out on loan to Bolton Wanderers once their takeover is rubber-stamped.
PNE are keen for the left-back to gain more first-team experience after in the main playing second fiddle to Andrew Hughes last season.
Tranmere and a team in Scotland had also enquired about Earl’s availability but Bolton seems his likely destination until January.
Meanwhile, North End head to Millwall with Neil emphasising the need for a strong start and indeed to build on it.
Last season they won their opening game but did not win in the Championship again until early October.
Neil said: “It settles the squad down really quickly if you start well, the fans too.
“If you don’t start well it heaps the pressure on you to start picking up results as soon as possible.
“We want to try and get points on the board early doors so that we aren’t having to chase our tail.
“That is what we ended up doing last season, after 11 or 12 games we knew we would have to put a run together to bounce back.”