'Neil Warnock did me a favour!' - Duane Holmes impact delights Preston North End boss
PNE swooped in to sign the former Derby County man from Huddersfield Town in the summer
Ryan Lowe's phone buzzed with a reply from Duane Holmes almost instantly after the Preston North End manager texted him in the summer.
The Lilywhites made eight signings in the transfer window and so far, Holmes has arguably made the biggest impact of all. With seven goal contributions from 16 appearances in all competitions, the American has fitted right in at Deepdale and quickly become a fan favourite. Signed for a miniscule fee, Holmes arrived with vast Championship experience under his belt and has provided a final third threat in the majority of games he's played. North End moved fast to bring Holmes in after learning of his availability - it's a deal Lowe is delighted to have secured.
"I think my old mate Neil Warnock did me a favour!" said Lowe. "But yeah, I think with Duane, we were interested in January but then he got injured. And then, when DJ obviously declined his contract offer and moved on, we felt we needed someone of that ilk - who could travel with the ball, was good on the ball and nippy.
"I think Duano has been that. And then, when we made the phone call to get him, Neil said he didn't want to stand in the lad's way - and if there was a longer contract for him, then he'd let him walk away for a small fee. That is certainly what he did, so fair play to Neil for allowing that. I don't think Duane was part of his plans and I'd obviously played with Duane years ago, at Bury.
"I used to see him on holiday most years to be honest and we'd always have a good chat. When I text him saying 'do you fancy it?' it was the quickest 'yes' I've ever seen typed in. So yeah, it was all good and he's done exactly what we wanted him to do. Long may that continue. He's massive around the place. The lads love him.
"He is a silent leader, not one that's quiet and doesn't say anything. We give him responsibilities, along with the rest of the lads. Even though he is small and dainty, he's a senior figure in there along with the rest of them. That's what I wanted from him, because not only does he bring his football to the table, his leadership qualities around the dressing room are different class."