Will they be PNE's perfect 10? How deadline day unfolded

It was a slow burner but Preston North End eventually had three new signings through the door by the end of play yesterday.

Thursday, 1st September 2016, 8:55 am
Updated Thursday, 1st September 2016, 10:01 am
Alex Baptiste.

Deadline day took its time to get going with Marnick Vermijl and Alex Baptiste’s moves, much talked about for large parts of the day, not confirmed until 8pm.

Those we had been expecting, it had always been the case that North End were going to solve their right-back problem after Calum Wood’s injury with the club confident of two deals before 11pm.

It soon became apparent, though, that it was to be a hat-trick, Simon Grayson taking his tally of new signings to 10 since the end of last season with the surprise addition of Aiden McGeady, formally announced by PNE at 9.30pm.

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The 85-cap Republic of Ireland international comes to Deepdale with a stellar CV.

Signing from Everton, a top-level career saw him make his name with Celtic before trying his luck out in Russia with Spartak Moscow.

Things have stalled recently at Goodison Park, however. New boss Ronald Koeman has told him he is surplus to requirements after finishing last season on loan at Sheffield Wednesday.

The 30-year-old may have plenty to prove but his talent on the ball cannot be questioned and he will certainly be an exciting addition to PNE’s attacking options.

He is not the out and out striker that many fans craved, some demanding a direct replacement for Joe Garner after his move to Rangers earlier in the month. Deepdale officials will argue Grayson has plenty of striking options, Jermaine Beckford, Callum Robinson, Eoin Doyle, Jordan Hugill and Simon Makienok all currently available with Stevie May set to return later this calendar year. In recent weeks, with just three goals from the opening five Championship games, Grayson has spoken about how chance creation is part of the issue for North End.

That is something McGeady should certainly help with.

As for the two defensive recruits, they bring an end to a hunt to fill the void left by Woods’ season-ending injury at Oldham during pre-season.

Some will argue two players weren’t needed in that area but they are different.

Baptiste, with his vast experience – and a player who was signed by Grayson at Blackpool back in 2008 – is an out-and-out defender who can operate as a full-back or central defender.

Vermijl is right at home as a wing-back, too, meaning a couple of specialists in those areas have been signed where Liam Grimshaw and Chris Humphrey had been filling in.

The former is naturally a central midfielder while the latter admits himself he is much more at home operating with a more attacking mindset as an out-and-out winger.

Those who make the decisions at Deepdale feel the squad has a better balance that in did at the start of play on Wednesday and now the proof will be in the pudding.

With no emergency loan window Grayson has his hands tied when it comes to new recruits until January.

But with competition in goal, a well-stocked defence, options in midfield and a variety of strikers the talk of transfers can stop, at least for the time being, as PNE build towards a return to Championship action against Barnsley on September 10.