Simon Grayson says he is taking a longer-term view with Preston North End’s transfer business during January.
The PNE boss has looked to the future with the deal this week for Ben Pearson and the impending arrival of Liam Grimshaw.
It could be that further arrivals in this window involve younger players.
Loan signings Adam Reach, Callum Robinson and Sam Johnstone are all in their early twenties, the squad now having a good sprinkling of youth.
Grayson, who takes his side to Portman Road to play Ipswich tomorrow, told the Evening Post: “We are trying to sign young, hungry players who we can develop and improve.
“Next season, there is no emergency loan system to fall back on outside of the transfer windows.
“So we are going about developing a squad for the longer term, we are getting a good balance here.
“We’ve got experienced lads and we’ve been adding younger lads – it is about getting the balance right.”
Grayson is eyeing more incoming business in the next couple of weeks, with a striker on the shopping list.
He said: “I’m always looking to improve the squad.
“We know we need another striker and that is probably the hardest position to fill.
“Quality strikers are sometimes not available in January.
“Clubs in the top area of a division don’t want to let their best players go and those at the other end need to keep hold of people to try and get them out of trouble.
“The goalkeeping situation is ongoing, we are in the hands of Manchester United and Sunderland on that one.”
Transfer movement has not been just one way, with North End yesterday allowing Josh Brownhill to join Barnsley on loan for a month.
The 20-year-old has found first-team chances hard to come by this season, with last week’s start at Peterborough only his sixth appearance of the campaign.
In the longer term, PNE want to keep Brownhill at Deepdale and are still in talks with his representatives about a new contract – his current deal runs out in the summer.
His switch to Oakwell is on a youth loan which initially runs until February 13.
The midfielder is set to make his Tykes debut against Shrewsbury tomorrow.
North End’s preparations for the Ipswich clash have been done in the south.
After beating Bristol City on Tuesday night, the squad travelled across country to Essex on Wednesday.
They have trained there and done some team bonding, something Grayson thinks will be of benefit.
“It’s been good to stay together as a squad over the last few days,” he said.
“Being away is something different, a change of scenery and routine.”
Meanwhile, North End’s visit to Derby County has been rearranged for Tuesday, February 2, kick-off 7.45pm.