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Horgan debuted against Arsenal but Preston boss says Boyle may have to wait

The pair have joined Preston North End in the Championship after impressing for Dundalk.

Andy Boyle is waiting for his debut at Preston North End.
Andy Boyle is waiting for his debut at Preston North End.
Image: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

PRESTON NORTH END manager Simon Grayson believes that both Daryl Horgan and Andy Boyle are capable of becoming key players for the Championship club.

Horgan made his debut for the Lancashire outfit as a substitute in last weekend’s FA Cup third-round defeat to Arsenal, but Grayson has said that Boyle may need to be patient as he waits to make his first appearance in a Preston shirt.

The Irish duo joined Preston from Dundalk at the beginning of January, having each won three SSE Airtricity League Premier Division medals during their time with the Lilywhites in Louth.

Horgan caught the eye of Preston, as well as a host of other clubs, with his impressive performances in attack as Dundalk reached the Europa League group stages in 2016. The 24-year-old winger was subsequently named PFAI Players’ Player of the Year. Boyle, a 25-year-old centre-back, was Dundalk’s stand-out defender last season.

“Definitely. That was a big thing for why both players signed; that we would give them the opportunity,” Grayson told 2FM’s ‘Game On’ programme last night, when asked if Horgan and Boyle could become regulars in the Preston starting line-up.

“I think what you’ve found is that Daryl was involved in the squad at the weekend and Andy hasn’t quite been yet. But sometimes it’s a little bit easier to incorporate an attacking player into your team and squad rather than a defender. The defenders get punished very quickly if you’re not careful.

Preston North End v Arsenal - Emirates FA Cup - Third Round - Deepdale Preston North End manager Simon Grayson. Source: EMPICS Sport

“Andy’s still learning about how we’re working as a back-three and a back-five, whereas sometimes the licence for an attacking player is that there isn’t as much of an emphasis on mistakes when they’ve got the ball. But I can certainly see both players playing a big part at this football club, hence why they’re here. I’m very sure that they will do.”

Ahead of their clash with Championship table-toppers Brighton & Hove Albion tomorrow, Grayson was glowing in his praise of both Horgan and Boyle, who have joined fellow Irish players Greg Cunningham, Eoin Doyle, Alan Browne and Aiden McGeady at Deepdale.

“When I got a chance to meet them I was really impressed by their attitude, their hunger to succeed and ultimately we had to fight off quite a bit of competition for both players. I think it’s great for us.

“The one big thing I could do with both of the players was to work with them, try and make them better and ultimately give them an opportunity in the Championship and see where their careers go from there. You saw that last weekend. Daryl came on for the last 10/15 minutes and made a real big impact.

“I’m really pleased with how both players have settled in. I’m obviously aware of the strong Irish contingent that we’ve got now and that helped them to settle in very quickly. They’re good lads and hopefully they’re going to play a big part for us.”

Grayson added: “Sometimes it’s a bit of a risk when you’re taking players from the League of Ireland and straight to the Championship because there’s quite a bit of a gulf. But ultimately these lads have done it in the Europa and Champions League games that they’ve played against top opposition. We didn’t feel it was a risk whatsoever to sign the players.”

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Paul Dollery

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