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Double joy for Preston's Fergie

IRISH players gave Preston manager Darren Ferguson two reasons to be cheerful as he managed to keep hold of international defender Sean St Ledger and also bring in highly rated U21 cap Keith Treacy on transfer deadline day.

Celtic had made three bids to sign St Ledger during January but by the 5pm deadline yesterday no deal had been done so the 25-year-old will see out the season at Deepdale, where he has been joined by Dublin-born winger Treacy.

"Keith is a lad with great potential, a really good footballer; naturally two-footed," said Ferguson after signing Blackburn man Treacy on a two-and-a-half year deal, for an undisclosed fee.

"He has played in a few games for Blackburn and he went on loan to Sheffield United earlier this season, so we are pleased to get him. He has a lot of potential and he is what I look for in a player. He will excite people. He is not the finished article but there is plenty to work with and he can play on either flank, which is a bonus.

"I saw him a couple of times for Sheffield United. He did OK against Newcastle so he has a good idea what to expect, he's not coming into the Championship blind.


"He's going to be a work in progress, we have still a lot of work to do with him but we've bought a player with a lot of potential," added Ferguson.

Treacy, 21, made his debut for Blackburn in October 2007 and made 22 appearances for the club, but fell out of favour this season.

Ferguson added that St Ledger will retain the captaincy at Preston following the club's successful bid to keep him there. "I was adamant that I didn't want to lose him," said Ferguson ahead of tonight's Championship clash with Barnsley.

"He's one of the best defenders in the league. I gave him the captain's armband on Saturday against Ipswich and he will have it again tonight."

Meanwhile, Dubliner Graham Carey could make his debut for St Mirren against Hearts tonight following his move on loan from Celtic.

"Graham can play anywhere on the left side. He has been in the Celtic system for four or five years now and had a loan spell at Bohemians last season where he did very well," said Saints manager Gus McPherson ahead of tonight's League Cup semi-final against Hearts.

"He had his first training session yesterday morning so we'll get him into the squad and into our way of doing things."