Wheelings and dealings at Deepdale

Four in, six out and a whole load of gossip about Robbie Keane was the story of the January transfer window for Preston North End.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 1st February 2017, 2:06 pm
Updated Wednesday, 1st February 2017, 3:06 pm
Robbie Keane
Robbie Keane

Three of the incomings were among the first deals to land at the Football League when trading started back on January 1.

Daryl Horgan, Andy Boyle and Tom Barkhuizen had been in the building before then, their moves from Dundalk and Morecambe respectively just needing official approval.

The fourth arrival, that of defender Tyias Browning from Everton, came much later, on the penultimate day of the window in fact.

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Browning had Monday’s training session to acquaint himself with his team-mates before the loan man made his debut at Cardiff the following night.

As for those who headed out, the first on the move was winger Chris Humphrey.

The winger had his contract cancelled by mutual consent and subsequently signed for Scottish club Hibs.

Ben Davies was loaned to Fleetwood for the rest of the campaign and is by all reports doing very well there.

The deal to cause plenty of debate was the sale of Bailey Wright to Bristol City.

North End chose to cash in on him after the centre-back had shown no inclination to sign a new contract.

The three other exits were left to the last hours of the window.

Striker Eoin Doyle left for Portsmouth, Liam Grimshaw to Chesterfield and Clive Smith moved to St Johnstone – all on loan.

Smith’s move to Scotland was technically classed as an international transfer and had to be done through the FIFA transfer system, it being the last deal done.

So what happened to the interest in Keane?

North End liked the idea of bringing him to Deepdale but his salary expectation would have burst the wage structure.

As a free agent, the Irish striker is not governed by the transfer window and can sign for a club in the coming weeks if he chooses.

Simon Grayson stressed that a big positive in recent weeks was keeping the core of his squad together – big bids for Jordan Hugill and Callum Robinson were turned down and others attracted interest.