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First Team News

A D-Day On A B-Day In Every Sense!

30 March 2017

The media joked with Simon Grayson after last month’s draw at Derby County… ‘you don’t half do big birthday presents, do you Simon?’.

They were of course referring to the fact that he had given Andy Boyle his North End debut on the date of his 26th birthday on 7th March at Pride Park.

The manager answered that he hadn’t even known it was the Irishman’s big day until after the team had been named, but was nonetheless delighted with the first impression left by his transfer window acquisition.

Boyle himself followed that up with his home debut at Deepdale against Reading, before being named once again in the Ireland squad for last week’s qualifier against Wales and their international friendly with Iceland, where he was given his debut by Martin O’Neill on Tuesday night.

Speaking this week to The One And Only he admitted he was delighted to get his opportunity and was happy to bide his time until his chance came.

“The lads have done really well and it’s difficult to get a chance, especially as a defender, when the team’s playing well and winning games and so I’ve had to be patient,” he told the matchday programme.

“I was well aware of that I had to bide my time and I’m just glad that I’ve finally made my debut and I suppose it was a good day to do it on my birthday, but I’m just more than anything over the moon to get going.

“It was the present I wanted, to make my debut, and it was a good place to do it. Obviously it was great to get a point as well and the manner and the way we did it was a fitting birthday present.

“I thought it went well enough for me. Obviously as a defender, you want to keep clean sheets first and foremost, but I thought we limited them to few chances and I thought as a team we defended well and towards the end of the game, in the last 20 minutes, we got on top of them and we were probably full value for a point.”

There was plenty of fuss in the last hour before the game about whether the No.24’s girlfriend, Hayley, would get to game, after only finding out at 6.15pm that he was playing, so did she make it in time?

“Yeah she got there in the end. I think that she was racing down, obviously she was trying to organise tickets and stuff like that. The media staff told me after the game about the whole fiasco, but I suppose it’s a good story in the end, isn’t it?

“She managed to get a taxi and got down. She arrived maybe 20 minutes into the game. So she got to see the majority of the game, but it has been one of the stories everyone has been asking me about.

“The whole day will be something we can talk about for years to come, with it being my birthday and making my debut - that story is something I’ll remember for a long time.”

There’s loads more from international centre half, plus interviews and features with, amongst others, Paul McKenna, Joe Worrall, Daryl Horgan, Tommy Spurr and Aiden McGeady.

There’s also all our regular features and plenty on our opponents and the programme will be on sale from Friday afternoon from the Sir Tom Finney Stand ticket office or from sellers inside and outside the ground on matchday.


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