Preston North End’s build-up to what will hopefully be a promotion-winning campaign was getting under way today at Springfields.
The first-team squad were reporting back this morning for five weeks of pre-season training ahead of the August 9 kick-off against Notts County.
North End have added Andy Little, Calum Woods, Jordan Hugill, Jamie Jones and Kyel Reid to their numbers during the summer break.
They were officially starting work as PNE players today, although winger Reid reported back earlier in the week as he continues his rehabilitation from knee surgery.
Deepdale assistant manager Glynn Snodin is eager to get out on to the training pitches after the holidays.
And Simon Grayson’s No.2 believes the new recruits will help the Lilywhites build on the last campaign, which came to a disappointing end at the play-off semi-final stage.
Snodin told the Evening Post: “It is nice to have a break after 10 months’ hard slog but the batteries are refreshed now ready for this season.
“Nowadays the players have summer fitness programmes and come back in good shape.
“So there is no need for six-mile runs to get the weight off like in the past.
“We will have the footballs out, do endurance runs, everything will be football-specific.
“There is a big emphasis on the injury-prevention work – you start that now and carry it on throughout the season.
“Last season we didn’t have many injuries, which is great credit to the medical and sports science staff.”
Snodin has worked before with three of the PNE new boys – Woods, Reid and Little.
All will inject pace into the squad, something which was missing last season.
“Calum can play anywhere across the back four – he’s an honest kid who will give you everything,” said Snodin.
“He has pace and is the type of player we think we needed to bring in.
“Kyel will excite people, he likes to get the ball and run at teams.
“We all saw what he can do when Bradford played here last season.
“He can get the ball deep inside your own half and within a few seconds is in the other team’s penalty box.
“Kyel has had his injury but we made sure that he was right during the medical.
“He’s been putting in some hard work at St George’s as part of his recovery.
“Andy Little is someone I worked with in the Northern Ireland set-up. He was a young lad then and had strikers like David Healy and Kyle Lafferty ahead of him.
“Again he’s got pace and is not frightened to run at defences and get behind them.
“The way to open teams up is to get behind them, get them turned and bring others into the attack.
“Last season we played in front of teams a lot because we didn’t quite have the pace.”
North End have given Bailey Wright some extra holiday time after being at the World Cup with Australia.
Snodin said: “I think Bailey is back here about July 14 – he needs his rest.”