Successful Dublin shopping trip for Preston as Graham Burke deal nears

A whistle-stop visit to Dublin looks to have pushed Preston closer to their next summer recruit.

Friday, 8th June 2018, 7:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 19th June 2018, 11:27 am
North End target Graham Burke on Republic of Ireland duty

PNE officials made the trip yesterday to negotiate a deal for Shamrock Rovers striker Graham Burke.

It is understood that talks went well, with Burke soon to swell the Irish contingent at Deepdale.

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The Lilywhites’ interest in the newly capped Republic of Ireland international had grown quickly.

He was watched in action in last Saturday’s friendly against the United States at the Aviva Stadium.

Burke scored in that game, albeit finding the net with a goalline tap-in akin to David Nugent’s goal for England in March 2007.

With the striker attracting interest from other English clubs, Preston were keen to start talking. Burke is in the middle of the League of Ireland season at Shamrock and any deal is likely to see him play a couple more games before moving to Deepdale.

The Irish market is one well used by North End.

When a deal is complete, Burke would become the eighth Irish player in the PNE first-team squad.

Five of the seven currently at Deepdale have come from the League of Ireland – Sean Maguire, Alan Browne, Daryl Horgan, Andy Boyle and Kevin O’Connor.

Greg Cunningham and Eoin Doyle were signed from British clubs.

In the youth set-up, Adam O’Reilly and Charlie Lyons were signed from Irish clubs.

In this transfer window, North End have so far signed Ryan Ledson and Michael Crowe.

Ledson got the ball rolling on their summer recruitment last month, the midfielder joining from Oxford United.

Goalkeeper Crowe joined on Wednesday, the Bosman switch running from July 1 after his contract at Ipswich runs out.

PNE have more incoming business to do, with another striker and a defender on the wish-list for starters.

Ideally the defender would provide cover both at right-back and in the middle.

A striker – in addition to Burke – would be more of a targetman type.

Burke is seen more as a forward who can play as a No.10 or in wide areas, but he can play up top too.

There is already plenty of competition for such roles in Alex Neil’s preferred 4-2-3-1 system.

But Preston boss Neil felt that at times last season, a touch of quality was missing from their play approaching the box.

Meanwhile, PNE season ticket holders have until the close of business tomorrow to reserve their usual seat.

From next week, seats will be released for open sale.