PNE boss pleased with summer transfer business

Calum Woods

Calum Woods

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Simon Grayson is strong in his belief that Preston North End’s summer transfer business has improved the Deepdale squad.

Jamie Jones, Calum Woods, Andy Little, Jordan Hugill and Kyel Reid have so far arrived during the close season.

In addition, the services of Paul Gallagher have been secured on a season’s loan and a new contract was agreed with Neil Kilkenny.

PNE boss Grayson was of the view that the squad needed a ‘tweak’ as opposed to major changes following last season’s fifth-place finish and semi-final defeat in the play-offs.

And he now thinks the club is well equipped to challenge for promotion in 2014/15.

Grayson told the Evening Post: “We have strengthened different areas of the pitch.

“I did say at the end of last season that major work didn’t need to be done.

“We just needed different types within the squad, a bit of tweaking here and there.

“A few players have been cleared out and one or two more might yet go out.

“We analysed what we did last season and how we could improve.

“The ones we went out and got in the summer we think will give us something different and take us to the next level which we missed out on last season.”

Grayson did hint at having a bit more incoming business to do, saying that PNE were ‘95% there’ in terms of the squad he wanted.

He was keen to have the majority of signings in place for the beginning of pre-season training, a target which was achieved ahead of last week’s start.

“I was really pleased with how quickly the business was done,” said Grayson. “No club will have their whole squad in place for the first day of pre-season training but we are 95% there.

“If we have to do another piece of business then it won’t disrupt the squad too much in terms of playing catch-up.

“As well as bringing in the new lads, it was good to see Paul Gallagher and Neil Kilkenny re-sign.

“We think that everyone who has come in this summer will contribute in different ways to improving us.

“That is what you have to do, make sure you improve year in, year out to go that step further.

“I look to what Brentford have done in the last couple of seasons.

“Having lost in the play-off final, they kept the majority of the squad together and then added bits to it.

“By doing that they went and got automatic promotion which is our aim this season.”

Four of the five new recruits will be pulling on a Preston shirt for the first time next week when the programme of friendly games start.

Reid is the exception with the winger still at the rehabilitation stage of his recovery following surgery to repair his cruciate ligament.

PNE take on Chorley in the annual clash for the Jack Kirkland Trophy at Victory Park on Tuesday. Then a week on Saturday, Liverpool are the visitors to Deepdale.

Three games in five days follow away to Bamber Bridge, Halifax and Morecambe.

It is then back home to tackle Burnley (July 29) and Leicester (August 2).