A week ago today, the transfer window ended – and Preston did no late business to boost Alex Neil’s squad.
North End allowed the deadline to pass without landing any more signings, halting the summer recruitment at four. Patrick Bauer, David Nugent, Andre Green and Tom Bayliss were the only players to arrive.
Neil may well have wanted additional reinforcements, especially at left back. Josh Earl was inexplicably loaned out to Bolton Wanderers ahead of the deadline, leaving Andrew Hughes as the only recognised left back at Deepdale.
Any hopes of signing a left back were dashed when Derby County rejected Preston’s bid for Max Lowe. With that, North End simply backed away from the market and made do with what Neil has.
However, we were given a warning on Saturday evening. As Seani Maguire shot over the bar with the last kick of the game against Wigan, Hughes pulled up with an injury. The Welshman had bombed forward to overlap Maguire, but appeared to be clutching his hamstring as the game ended.
Unsurprisingly, Hughes didn’t feature against Bradford in midweek. That meant right back Joe Rafferty playing at left back, and with concerns over Darnell Fisher too, Alan Browne had to play at right back.
That’s a sorry state of affairs, and with Preston just one Hughes injury away from trouble, the free agent market should be looked at. James Meredith would be one option after leaving Millwall, but Martin Olsson ticks many boxes.
Why Olsson should be a Preston target
The 31-year-old left Swansea City this summer, and is looking for a new club. Linked with Rangers and Sunderland, Olsson is back fit and raring to go after an Achilles injury last season, and knows Neil well.
The pair worked together at Norwich City, with Neil even suggesting to the Eastern Daily Press in October 2016 that Olsson was the best left back in the Championship. Since then, Olsson has played 18 months of Premier League football, and the rest in the Championship.
He knows Neil’s methods, and he has bags of experience – which is what Neil has wanted. He’s made almost 350 first-team appearances in English football, and even has 46 caps for Sweden on the international stage.
Olsson is in his 30’s, but remains quick and dangerous going forward. Those attributes that attracted North End to Lowe, offering somthing different to Hughes. Olsson even knows the North West having played for Blackburn too.
Leaving Hughes as the only left back is a disaster waiting to happen, as seen against Wigan. With Olsson on the market, North End should be looking to reunite him with Neil and solve the left back issue as quickly as possible.