Dave Seddon’s pressview

Sam Johnstone
Sam Johnstone
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Three weeks of the transfer window gone, another 10 days to go.

It could be an interesting period for Preston leading up to the close of trading a week on Monday.

Much of their business is completed but to sign-off the winter building job at Deepdale, work needs doing to underpin the foundations and put a roof on.

In simple terms, a keeper and striker are the building blocks which have to be put in place.

Efforts are ongoing to turn Sam Johnstone’s 28-day stay into a longer one.

His arrival was an important piece of business right at the start of the winter, albeit, a short-term measure.

Although his loan from Manchester United runs for another week, today’s clash with Brentford is the last game to fall within it.

It would be a shame if it was to end after four games rather than stretch until May.

There are other keepers out there but North End know Johnstone well and he knows them – the relationship exists already.

How frustrating it would be to see the local lad summoned back to Old Trafford for third-choice keeper duties.

Johnstone has experienced that this season, not having a kick or catch to make during the first-half of the campaign.

His non-availability last summer of course opened the door for Jordan Pickford’s move to Preston.

Pickford has been and gone, making a lasting impression on those who watched him play.

The frustration at seeing him go back to Sunderland has at least been watered-down by the fact he has played for the Black Cats.

Not just any old game either, Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium in the FA Cup and then Tottenham away in the Premier League.

If players do get recalled from loan spells, it is nice to see them get the opportunity at their parent club.

Bar some summer action on United’s tour of the United States, Johnstone did not get that first-team chance.

Neither, remember, did Callum Robinson when twice recalled by Aston Villa last season.

Returning to potential shopping to be done by Preston, snaffling up a striker is high on the list.

They generally cost the most money and have arrived in the past at Deepdale the nearer to the deadline it gets.

What do they go for? The younger type of player, perhaps from the division below or from a Premier League club’s reserve side with plenty to prove, or someone who knows their way around the Championship?

The current buying model would suggest the former, a player with potential to be developed while not exactly being a rookie.

North End seem to have set their sights on the younger end of the market these last three weeks.

Johnstone is 22, Ben Pearson turned 21 earlier in the month, while Robinson and Liam Grimshaw both celebrate their 21st birthday on February 2.

Adam Reach, who has his loan extended earlier in the window, will be 23 a week on Wednesday.

The announcement of the arrival of Grimshaw on Monday was accompanied by some surprised mutterings.

Not that the news was unexpected as it had been in the public domain for the best part of a week – Motherwell putting it there following their failure to land him.

The surprise element was that one of Grimshaw’s first tasks as a North End player would be to have knee surgery.

It is not exactly what folk want to hear, that their new signing is about to be operated on and unable to play for a few weeks.

Kyel Reid got a mention from some, similarities drawn between him arriving injured two summers ago and the position of Grimshaw.

The scenarios appear to be a great deal different though.

Reid came as he recovered from major surgery to re-build his cruciate ligament.

As for Grimshaw, the injury seems far more minor, his recovery put at a few weeks.

Whatever the exact nature of the knee injury is, he was able to play with it for part of his loan at Motherwell.

He went under the knife on Thursday and now the work begins to get back to fitness.

Although I’m sure he will not be rushed back, the day that Grimshaw is able to pull on the Preston shirt will put supporters’ minds at rest.

Like Pearson, Grimshaw came through the ranks at United and PNE will get the benefit of him having played first-team football in a recent loan spell. Hopefully, it won’t be long before we see him.