Date: 20th December 2016 at 10:20am
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Preston North End could be dark horses for promotion this year.

While tabloids have been blaring out widely reported stories about big name players being linked to the likes of Newcastle, Brighton, Leeds and Aston Villa, Simon Grayson’s Preston side have quietly gone about their business and are in a very good position.

The Lilywhites have gone under the radar to secure three top signings in my opinion.

They capitalised on Morecambe’s financial woes to land a pre-contract agreement with Tom Barkhuizen.

This is a player who has been terrorising defences in League Two, scoring regular goals from the wing and setting up plenty of chances for teammates.

It will be a tough ask for him to step up two divisions but at the age of just 23, he will be hungry to impress on the bigger stage and might be a useful option to add.

Meanwhile, Preston fought off widespread competition to land Dundalk duo Andy Boyle and Daryl Horgan on free transfers.

The Irish contingent at North End helped land the in-demand pair, who had impressed in the Europa League and helped Dundalk to win the League of Ireland Premier League.

Daryl Horgan was the man that most people wanted and Preston fought off competition from a number of Championship clubs as well as Celtic, Rangers, Sunderland and MLS teams for his signature.

The 24-year-old is a tricky winger with a real eye for goal and his impressive performances have earned him a senior call-up to the Republic of Ireland squad.

This is a shrewd piece of business on a free, as is his teammate Andy Boyle.

Boyle was the linchpin of a solid Dundalk defence who have kept big teams like Zenit St Petersburg relatively quiet for large periods.

He will undoubtedly add steel and solidity to the back four at Deepdale.

All this is early business, good business and all three were free transfers.

Preston are just 5 points off the play-offs and have a talented squad so they are definitely one to watch as they continue to creep up under the radar.

Preston fans – what do you make of your business? Do you have an outside shot of the play-offs? Lets us know in the comments below…