'Father figure' - Graham Alexander's hand in Preston North End summer transfer success

The PNE man spoke to a legend of the club before signing from Huddersfield Town

It was a simple decision for Duane Holmes anyway in the summer, but the recommendation of a Preston North End legend confirmed he'd made the right one.

Snapped up from Huddersfield Town, Holmes has been a major success for Ryan Lowe's side so far - scoring four goals and assisting three in his 17 appearances across all competitions. Signed for a miniscule fee from the Terriers, his impact has been evident.

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Holmes has been a regular in the starting XI, operating in a variety of roles but always carrying a threat in games. It was time for him to leave Huddersfield in the summer, with Preston keen to get a deal done after showing interest in January - and Neil Warnock happy to sanction a sale.

Lowe played with Holmes during his Bury days and moved quickly to reunite with the player. The pair have a strong relationship, but not quite on the level of Holmes and Graham Alexander - who of course played more than 400 matches for Preston. Alexander recruited Holmes while in charge of Scunthorpe United in 2016 and the two have remained close ever since.

"I knew it was a great club, because my old coach Graham Alexander told me how good a club it was when he heard I was signing," said Holmes. "I got in touch with him. I speak to Grezza quite often. He has been a massive part of my career; he saved my career.

"He took me when no-one else wanted me and he gave me a platform to go and express myself. I see him as a father figure in the game. Whenever anything is going wrong, I will ring him. I really value what he's got to say, and he's a great man."

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Holmes was always regarded as a nuisance to play against over the years, so having him in Preston colours has been refreshing. As it turns out though, the number 25 is equally as glad to be on that side of the fence - given his trips to Deepdale with Derby, Huddersfield and co.

"I always hated playing here because the fans were horrible to the opposition and it was a hard place to come," he said. "You always knew you were in for a tough game and it's nice to be on the other side of that to be honest! I am enjoying Deepdale being a fortress."