Across the water

'It's some game to make your debut': Preston boss says Horgan and Boyle could feature against Arsenal

Simon Grayson spoke highly of the former Dundalk duo following their move to the Championship club this week.

PRESTON MANAGER SIMON Grayson has said that former Dundalk duo Daryl Horgan and Andy Boyle may potentially feature for their new club as early as their January FA Cup tie against Arsenal.

Grayson says that both Horgan and Boyle will be given the opportunity to impress him at Deepdale, and play regular Championship football from the get-go.

Andy Boyle and Daryl Horgan Mikhail Kireev / INPHO Mikhail Kireev / INPHO / INPHO

“Certainly, they’re going to get an opportunity. Like any player I have in the squad, you earn the right to get that shirt and it’s yours to lose,” he said on Off The Ball tonight.

“That’s going to be the case with these two as well as everyone else that’s in our group.”

As January signings, Horgan and Boyle are unavailable until the registration window opens in the New Year, but Grayson revealed that they could potentially be involved in first team action as early as 7 January against Arsenal.

“They’re going to come over next week just to see the lads and integrate them. No training obviously, because they’re still not contracted. Very much after that, we’ll try and get them up to speed as quick as possible.

“Both have had a few days away on holiday but I think they’ll both be chomping at the bit to get into training with us.

“Potentially, the first game they’re going to be available for will be the Arsenal cup tie. So if they were to be involved, then it’s some game to make your debut as such. They’re here for the long term, not just for the first few games.”

The manager spoke about the club’s initial interest in the duo.

“I think we’ve been aware of them for quite a few months now. As Dundalk got more successful, obviously the profile was lifted on them as a football club and the two individuals who had done ever so well,” he said.

“Ultimately as it all progressed, we kept more of an eye on them and watched them more and it just came to a point where we got involved in trying to bring them to the football club.

Andy Boyle and Daryl Horgan Morgan Treacy / INPHO Morgan Treacy / INPHO / INPHO

“That was meeting both players separately, it wasn’t a package. I met both players individually and Andy agreed to sign, and then I met Daryl a week later and a couple of days later, he’d agreed to sign. So I think it’s good business for us and a good progression for them as individuals in this stage of their career I think.”

Both players were previously linked with other clubs, with rumours floating around involving Horgan and Ispwich, Newcastle and Premier League side Sunderland.

The manager feels however that Preston is the right fit for both players.

“I think we’re going to give him [Horgan] an opportunity to play, and maybe he might not have got the opportunity to go to other clubs and play. Ultimately, he was going to be given a chance, we sort of sold him the vision of what we’re trying to achieve as a football club and where we’re trying to go.

“I think Daryl and Andy both really enjoyed our conversation about what we’re trying to do for the football club.

“Also I think, my connection within the Irish squad [helped them decide]. They’ve made that first step into the Irish squad, and playing for us on a regular basis and me being in contact with Martin [O'Neill] would maybe help them to move there on a regular basis.”

Newcastle United v Preston North End - EFL Cup - Round of 16 - St James' Park Richard Sellers Richard Sellers

Grayson spoke of how the free-transfer double swoop was a no-brainer, but also the fact that money in football isn’t everything.

“Ultimately it doesn’t matter how much you pay for players. You’ve to work with them on the training pitch, which I like to do and you hope to improve them.

“I think it was a no-brainer for us, and full credit to them for deciding to come to us.”

Dundalk’s fantastic European run has improved both Horgan and Boyle as players, and Grayson feels that Preston is a natural progression from there on the path to becoming regulars in the Irish international set-up.

“I think the one good thing that has happened is that they’ve proved that they’re capable of playing against a high caliber of players. It proves that they can make that next step-up and ultimately that’s why Martin’s bringing them into the Irish squad.

“It is a progression of what they’re doing. Hopefully they’re going to be like a lot of Irish players that have made the transition across the water and have a successful career.”

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