PNE boss looking to the future

PNE manager Simon Grayson with Rotherham boss steve Evans in the background
PNE manager Simon Grayson with Rotherham boss steve Evans in the background
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Simon Grayson is strong in his belief that Preston North end has got a ‘massive pull’ which will help him strengthen the Deepdale squad this summer.

The Lilywhites manager will look to bring in a handful of new signings over the next couple of months to improve on falling at the play-off s
emi-final hurdle and make a push for automatic promotion in the 2014/15 campaign.

Emotions are still raw after last Thursday’s second-leg defeat to Rotherham, which condemned PNE to a fourth season of League One football.

But Grayson has faith in the nucleus of the squad he already has, with his job in the close season being to add more quality to it.

Grayson said: “It is a really good group here – I always thought that from when we brought in the new players before Christmas.

“We need to strengthen in different areas but you have to do that anyway every year, keep improving and making changes.

“But it won’t need too many changes because we have a really good squad of players of who I’m really proud of.

“We had already been making plans, looking at which players would be out of contract, who might be available for any scenario.

“The one thing which Preston North End has got is a massive pull because of the stadium, the facilities, the history and tradition of the club.

“Everything is geared to get to the next level and hopefully we can get there soon.”

While Grayson was pleased with the 85 points tally which Preston posted this season, he admits it has been of little comfort to him as he looks to get over the play-off exit at the semi-final stage.

Last season, 85 points would have taken them up automatically.

Said Grayson: “Does that help? Not really, we are still in League One.

“You can get situations like that in different seasons, get ‘X’ amount of points which one year gets you promoted but in others keeps you down.

“It has proved how tough the division has been this season, how good the teams have been to accumulate the number of points they did just to get into the play-offs, never mind the automatic promotion spots.

“When you only lose seven games like we did this season and don’t go up, you can possibly count yourselves a little bit unlucky.”

Grayson found himself as a losing play-off semi-finalist when in charge of Leeds five years ago. He will be using that experience to help try and get Preston over the line next year.

“Leeds lost in the semi-final when I was manager there and that was very disappointing,” said Grayson.

“They bounced back the following year and got automatic promotion.

“That is our aim for next season – we can’t let ourselves be down for too long.”

Meanwhile, two PNE loan players will be opposition in the League Two play-off final at Wembley next Monday.

Iain Hume is on loan at Fleetwood, while Shane Cansdell-Sherriff has spent much of the season at Burton.