We are delighted to announce the signing of attacking midfielder Mikey O’Neill from Preston North End on a loan deal until the end of the season.
O’Neill, a creative player who can also operate as a striker, becomes the Mariners’ first signing of the January transfer window and adds to Paul Hurst’s attacking options.
The 18-year-old made his professional debut in April 2022 for the Skybet Championship club against QPR. He has made five appearances in all competitions this season for the Lilywhites.
At the end of the 2022/23 season, the teenager was named as the Championship club’s Scholar of the Year.
On bringing O’Neill to the Club, Hurst said: “I’m really pleased to get Mikey in. He’s a player that’s very highly thought of at Preston. We tried getting him in in August but for one reason or another we couldn’t quite make that happen.
“He stayed over there and he’s played a few times for them. He played in their FA Cup win against Huddersfield and then we were made aware that he could come out on loan.
“We moved pretty quick once we knew that. He can play in as a centre forward, as a number ten and can probably play coming in from a wide position potentially, as well. This is certainly a loan for him to come get some experience and some game time. From Preston’s point of view, they expect him to be involved with them moving forwards.
“We’re really pleased to get him. Hopefully it can be a success and it’s one that works for all parties.”
O’Neill himself added: “I want to get in the team and score a few goals! I also want to help the team push on and try and get up towards the play-offs. I’m hoping to do what I can to help the team get to where they want to be.”
Discussing what sort of player Mariners fans can expect to see, O’Neill said: “An attacking player who tries to get on the ball but, when the ball comes to me in the box, I’d like to think I’d back myself to score the goals!”
O’Neill will wear the number 18 shirt and comes into contention immediately and could feature in this afternoon’s Skybet League Two match against Swindon Town.