New Middlesbrough signing Jordan Hugill will relish the chance to play for his hometown club, according to his former manager Simon Grayson.
Grayson was the man who gave Hugill his debut for Preston, where the striker scored 30 goals in 114 appearances as well as winning promotion to the Championship.
The 26-year-old joined Tony Pulis' side on loan from West Ham yesterday, and Grayson was full of praise for forward.
“He’d worked as a barman in Middlesbrough and had had a few disappointments in his early career,” said Grayson.
“We signed him from Port Vale and took a gamble, and he did fantastically well.
“He went to Hartlepool on loan and did well, then came back to us after working all summer and he smashed it the next season down to pure endeavour and work-rate.”
Hugill scored his first goal for Preston against Boro at the Riverside in August 2014, as the Lilywhites lost 3-1 in a Capital One Cup tie.
“When he played and scored that night it was a huge thing for him,” added Grayson.
“There was never any secret that he was a massive Middlesbrough fan. He always looked out for the results, and he’s gone the long way around, but he’s got the chance he’s always wanted to play for his club.”
Boro were keen to sign another striker after selling Patrick Bamford to Leeds earlier in the window.
But what can fans expect from their new signing?
According to Grayson, Hugill has all the attributes to be a success at the Riverside.
“He’s an honest lad who will be able to relate to the supporters.
“He’s a good centre-forward, an old fashioned centre-forward in some respects. He’s brave, he gives it a right go, and he is a player who wants to keep on learning.
“And because he had it tough as a young player and worked his way from non league, he treasures every moment and knows what he has to do.”
Hugill will join a dressing room which includes several of Grayson's former players, many of whom he still stays in touch with.
“You’re always pleased for lads that you keep in touch with. There’s a few at Middlesbrough with Clayts [Adam Clayton], Jonny [Howson], Paddy [McNair] and Lonners [Andy Lonergan], and you always look out to see how they’re doing when you have an affinity with them.”
Boro are still hoping to sign a few more players before today's 5pm deadline, after being linked with Everton duo Mo Besic and Yannick Bolasie.