Preston North End new boy Joe Rafferty enjoys first experience of cut and thrust of transfer market

Joe Rafferty, centre, in action for Rochdale against Blackpool earlier in the season
Joe Rafferty, centre, in action for Rochdale against Blackpool earlier in the season

Preston North End new boy Joe Rafferty admits he enjoyed his first taste of the cut and thrust of the transfer market.

The right-back became the Lilywhites’ fifth signing of the January window on Wednesday when he joined from Rochdale.

Joe Rafferty became Preston's fifth signing of the January transfer window

Joe Rafferty became Preston's fifth signing of the January transfer window

His only previous move had seen him picked up by Dale back in the summer of 2012 after failing to nail down a professional contract.

It meant that being whisked off to Deepdale to finalise his PNE deal was a completely new experience.

“I’ve never been involved in anything like this,” Rafferty said.

“My move to Rochdale was done in the summer and I’ve stayed there since. I didn’t know what it was all about.

“It’s a bit nerve-racking but quite exciting at the same time.

“I loved every minute I was at Rochdale and it’s a great club to be at but when Preston came in for me and were willing to sign me, I wanted to go.

“It was a bit of a surprise and it just happened so quickly and I’m made up to have got it done.

“Preston are a massive club to me.

“I don’t see why this club can’t be pushing on to achieve things and hopefully get in the Premier League one day.

“It’s an ideal club for me personally as well. It’s not to far from home, my family can come and watch the games, and it’s a big club in the Championship.”

Rafferty becomes the latest player bidding to make the step up to the Championship at Deepdale under Alex Neil, Jayden Stockley showing the way in the impressive 4-1 win over Queens Park Rangers last time out on Saturday.

A player the latest new arrival knows – Ryan Ledson – is another getting used to life in the second tier.

“I spoke to the manager and we had a good chat,” said Rafferty.

“He told me how he likes to play football and I’ve just got to come in, work hard and try and get myself in the team.

“I know I’m not just going to be given a place in the side.

“The manager’s told me it’s a great set of lads and I’m looking forward to working with them.

“I know Ryan Ledson because he’s from Liverpool as well. That’s it to be honest.

“But Ryan came over straight away and we started talking about driving up together and that’s always a bonus.”

The latest signing of a busy January window came shortly after Calum Woods’ departure to Bradford City on a permanent deal was announced.

It looks like Neil has got a like-for-like replacement as one Liverpudlian replaces another.

“I’m a defender who likes to defend,” said Rafferty, a near ever-present for Rochdale in League One this season.

“I will try and win my headers, win my tackles and get forward when I can.

“I’m a full-back so first things first you’ve got to defend and hopefully get the better of the man you’re playing against.

“Then once that’s sorted, you can go and attack and hopefully set up a few goals.

“I just can’t wait to get started.

“It was a great win for the lads at QPR on Saturday and that’s a good thing for me.

“I’d rather be coming in on a positive week rather than a negative one.”