PNE defender has more belief

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Simon Grayson believes Marnick Vermijl is starting to turn potential into consistent form in the Preston North End team.

The Belgian wing-back has started seven of PNE’s last eight games, shrugging off the uncertainty of his early-season displays.

His performance at Burnley a week ago was a strong one and he is likely to start today’s clash with Reading at Deepdale (3pm).

An increase in belief is one of the reasons behind the improvement in his play according to Lilywhites manager Grayson.

“I think Marnick is believing in himself more and we are pushing him more,” Grayson told the Evening Post.

“He is a player who when he came into the team early in the season, he hadn’t had loads of game time at Sheffield Wednesday.

“Marnick didn’t play much pre-season football with them because he wasn’t going to be in their first team.

“He’s now found his feet after adapting to a different club and different players.

“The lad has quality, given that he’s played for Manchester United and played at every level for Belgium apart from the senior team.

“I’m pleased with how he is progressing and I still think there is more to come.”

Vermijl joined North End on a season-long loan from Wednesday three days before the start of the season.

The fact that it was the 23-year-old’s second move in a matter of months, might have contributed to a slow start.

He only signed for the Owls in February from United.

Said Grayson: “It is not easy when a club signs you and are then allowing you to move out after a short space of time.

“That can be a difficult situation to get your head around and in Marnick’s case, was due to the change of owners and manager at Sheffield Wednesday.

“We have benefitted from that, he’s here for the season and hopefully we can keep improving him.”

Grayson, meanwhile, says the January transfer window is in his mind now as he looks at possible squad-strengthening.

North End are expected to do some business in the new year, a new keeper on the cards if, as expected, Jordan Pickford is recalled from his loan by Sunderland.

They want to extend Adam Reach’s loan from Middlesbrough and Grayson has in mind other areas of the squad which may need a boost.

In the other direction, PNE have players out of loan who might move on or extend their stays away from Deepdale.

Said Grayson: “To be fair, you are always doing some kind of planning for the next transfer window.

“Agents have started ringing up again over the last couple of weeks and throwing names about.

“We know where we need to strengthen but we have a good group who have done very well so far this season.

“There will be certain situations where we probably need to change things around with ins and outs.”