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Ex-Blackpool ace Alex Baptiste admits he was 'gutted' not to complete Preston move

Queens Park Rangers defender Alex Baptiste has told the Preston official website that he was ‘gutted’ not to join North End permanently.

The Lilywhites travel to take on QPR at Loftus Road on Wednesday night, and will be looking to bounce back from Sunday’s 1-0 defeat to Cardiff City.

There are a number of players who have turned out for both clubs, including Gareth Ainsworth, Jordan Hugill, Patrick Agyemang and Danny Dichio, but it’s Baptiste who has offered some words ahead of the game.

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Baptiste, now playing for Bolton Wanderers in League Two, played on loan for Preston in the 2016-17 season, joining from Middlesbrough.

He reunited with his ex-Blackpool boss Simon Grayson, and served Preston well, making 24 appearances for the club whilst shaking off the ‘former Blackpool’ tag that sometimes annoys fans.

Some wanted Baptiste to stay permanently, but when Grayson moved on to Sunderland, Preston’s interest ended, and he joined QPR instead.

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The 34-year-old has since had spells at Luton Town, Doncaster Rovers and now Bolton, but clearly holds fond memories from his time at Deepdale, and is ‘gutted’ not to have joined the club permanently having seen where the club has gone since he left.

“I absolutely loved my time at Preston, I know there’s a lot of rivalry between the clubs (PNE and Blackpool) but I absolutely loved it,” said Baptiste. “It was a fantastic year, the lads really welcomed me and Tommo was there. I’d played under Simon Grayson before, a lot of the lads who are still there now were brilliant and we did really well that year.”

“Looking at the club now it’s gone from strength to strength; they’re always there or thereabouts the past few years and I was gutted that I didn’t sign to be honest,” he added.

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