Following a long summer of searching far and wide, PNE boss Graham Westley finally found his man when experienced shot stopper Steve Simonsen agreed to join the Lilywhites on a one-year deal.
The 34-year-old, who will provide Thorsten Stuckmann competition for the goalkeeping jersey put pen to paper at Deepdale on Thursday morning in time for this weekend’s opener against Colchester United.
Happy for the deal to be finalised, Simonsen is glad to be back in the swing and has had nothing but admiration for what he has seen so far at the Club.
“It has been such a long summer since leaving Sheffield United at the end of last season,” said Preston’s new number 23.
“I have virtually trained all by myself which has been good but it is difficult at the same time because you need to be amongst all the lads doing both group work and goalkeeping work.”
The 33-year-old started his career at Tranmere Rovers and became an instant success, with his performances earning himself a move to Merseyside neighbours Everton.
Spells in the Premier League with both the Toffees and Stoke City followed, before he became number one at Sheffield United.
The former England U21 international, who narrowly missed out on promotion with the Blades last season is ready to put the disappointment behind him and once again challenge for promotion, this time with the Lilywhites.
“The way last season ended for me was heart breaking,” admitted Simonsen. “However I know now what it takes for a team to enjoy a good season in League One and be promotion challengers.”
Already Simonsen has had first-hand experience of meeting the North End faithful following last weekend’s training day at Deepdale.
Aware of the Club’s impressive fan base, he admitted to PNE.Com it didn’t take much persuasion for him to join, even if he did have help from a couple of close friends.
“Preston North End is a huge Club, it has got a great tradition and a strong fan base. On that score there is no reason why I would not want to join this fantastic football club.
“I have been impressed with everything I have seen so far and even a couple of my close friends are PNE supporters.
“We deserve to be in a higher position than what we are but that is part of the reason why I have come here.”