New PNE signing ‘close’ as Grayson rues Posh defeat

Simon Grayson and Graham Westley on the touchline during PNE's FA Cup defeat to Peterborough

Simon Grayson and Graham Westley on the touchline during PNE's FA Cup defeat to Peterborough

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Preston North End boss Simon Grayson says he is ‘very close’ to a new signing and it should be made in time for Tuesday’s visit to Bristol City.

Speaking after PNE’s 2-0 defeat to Peterborough United in the third round of the FA Cup, Grayson revealed a done deal was near.

However, he refused to name the target, amid reports linking the Lilywhites with a swoop for Manchester United midfielder Ben Pearson who has recently returned to Old Trafford from a loan spell at Barnsley.

Grayson said: “We have been linked with about 50 players in the last week or so.

“Some of the players linked with us have been extraordinary.

“We conduct all our business behind closed doors and when we get something done, we will let people know.

“We are actively looking to bring players to the club and there is one deal which is very close.”

North End turned in what Grayson described as an ‘inconsistent’ performance as they bowed out of the FA Cup at London Road.

Former PNE manager Graham Westley, now in charge of Posh, got one over on his old club.

Goals early in each half from Martin Samuelsen and Conor Washington gave the League One outfit their victory.

Eoin Doyle squandered two one-on-one chances in the first period while a Tom Clarke header was cleared off the line in the second half.

Grayson said: “The result was disappointing because we wanted to make sure we were in the hat for the next round at the very least.

“We were pretty much inconsistent, too many players were up and down and didn’t show the quality they are capable of.

“Even had we played on into the night, we probably wouldn’t have scored.

“We had opportunities but still looked like we were lacking a real belief and confidence to go on and execute the final ball into the box and the chance itself.

“We knew how Peterborough were going to play, they were always going to play high-risk football and pop it around.

“Our system was one we were comfortable with and we knew we would get chances on the counter-attack.

“This was a learning curve for one or two of the players and we have to get back on it at Bristol City on Tuesday.”

North End gave a debut in goal to Chris Kirkland as Sam Johnstone did not get permission to play from parent club Manchester United.