Keeper on PNE’s wish list

North End's Declan Rudd stops a strike by Rotherham United's Alex Revell on Thursday night
North End's Declan Rudd stops a strike by Rotherham United's Alex Revell on Thursday night
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Preston North End will look to do some significant business in the transfer market this summer as they seek to turn play-off heartache into a sustained push for automatic promotion next season.

The Lilywhites already have targets in mind to strengthen their squad, while they also want to keep hold of Declan Rudd and Paul Gallagher, who have been on loan.

A new striker is on the wanted list to supplement the current forward line of Joe Garner, Kevin Davies and Stuart Beavon – Craig Davies has returned to Bolton Wanderers at the end of his loan spell.

Central midfield, right-back and the wing are other areas which are likely to be bolstered.

PNE owner Trevor Hemmings was at Deepdale yesterday morning to give the green light for the summer strengthening work.

While disappointed to have seen North End lose 3-1 to Rotherham in Thursday’s second leg, Hemmings is pleased with the progress which has been made this season.

There is no question that a top-two place will be the target in 2014/15, with boss Simon Grayson confident he already has the nucleus of a good squad from which to build.

Goalkeeper Rudd was an 
ever-present in North End’s 48 league and play-off games.

He initially moved here on loan from Norwich in January last year, and then joined on a season-long loan last summer.

Although his long-term future might not be with Norwich – John Ruddy looks set to stay at Carrow Road despite the Canaries’ relegation – PNE will have strong competition for his services.

Should Rudd go elsewhere, the club are understood to have other options.

North End should have a decent chance of landing Gallagher again following his six months on loan from Leicester City.

Gallagher has another season left on his contract with the Foxes but it is understood that they are willing to loan him out again – providing they can agree a suitable deal with PNE in terms of paying a percentage of his wages.

In addition to any new signings, Ben Davies and Will Hayhurst will return to Deepdale after being on loan at York City.

The retained list will not contain any surprises once that is finalised and made public. Graham Cummins, Nicky Wroe, Shane Cansdell-Sherriff, Chris Beardsley and John Mousinho are among those leaving after reaching the end of their contracts.

They have all been out on loan this season and will be free agents on the Bosman market.

Talks are planned with the agent of Neil Kilkenny as to the Australian midfielder’s future.

His contract runs out soon, having penned a short-term deal in January after initially being on loan from Bristol City.

North End’s squad reported in one last time yesterday afternoon for a de-brief with Grayson.

The PNE boss said: “They will have their holidays and come back rejuvenated with a real inner desire to succeed next season. We were disappointed with the Rotherham defeat but we will bounce back.”