The clock is ticking on transfer deadline day for Preston North End boss Alex Neil

Preston manager Alex Neil will be looking to do some transfer-deadline day businessPreston manager Alex Neil will be looking to do some transfer-deadline day business
Preston manager Alex Neil will be looking to do some transfer-deadline day business
Preston supporters’ eyes will be trained on the clock today in the run-up to the close of the transfer window at 5pm.

Teatime is the cut-off for Championship and Premier League clubs to complete their incoming business.

It is a change from a year ago when the Championship had to conclude permanent deals at this time but could still do loan business until the end of the month.

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Clubs voted earlier in the year for the incoming window to shut in its entirety today.

They can still sell or loan players to clubs in League One and League Two, with their transfer window not closing until September 2.

North End have done four incoming deals this summer, bringing in Patrick Bauer, David Nugent, Andre Green and Tom Bayliss.

Heading out of Deepdale have been Callum Robinson in an £8m move to Sheffield United, while Chris Maxwell joined Hibernian on loan and Graham Burke returned to Shamrock Rovers on a 12-month loan.

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Josh Earl has also been sent on loan to Bolton but suffered ankle ligament damage on his Wanderers debut.

Earl’s temporary exit has left North End short of cover at left-back should Andrew Hughes get an injury.

They saw a bid for Derby’s Max Lowe knocked back last week and the indications were that they will not return with an improved offer.

An alternative would be to have Joe Rafferty, a right-back by trade, as cover on the left.

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Rafferty played at left-back against Salford in a bounce game on Tuesday.

During the summer, the Lilywhites have looked at the availability of goalkeepers to take on loan.

So whether they make a late move today in that area, remains to be seen. Perhaps the position most North End fans would like to see a new face in, is up front.

They are well staffed in terms of wide players, so too attacking midfielders, but for the centre-forward position could be a little light.

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They have Sean Maguire, Jayden Stockley, Louis Moult and Nugent as things stand.

However, Moult is being eyed by three clubs with a view of taking him on loan, while Nugent is still sharpening his fitness after knee surgery.

In recent years, Preston have done some incoming business late in the window.

Aiden McGeady came on loan from Everton in the final hours of the window in August 2016, with Marnick Vermijl and Alex Baptiste recruited the same day.

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The year before, there was the double swoop for Stevie May and Eoin Doyle on the last day of trading.

Beyond today’s deadline, there is scope for players to move out if they are dropping below Championship level.