PNE quick off the mark

Andy Little
Andy Little
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Simon Grayson says that having much of his transfer business already done will be an advantage to Preston North End this season.

Five new signings, and the renewal of Paul Gallagher’s loan, were completed ahead of the start of pre-season training.

Grayson is happy with the way his summer recruits have settled at Deepdale, four of them – Jamie Jones, Calum Woods, Andy Little and Jordan Hugill – having made their debuts at Chorley on Tuesday night.

That quartet are all set to feature in today’s home friendly with Liverpool (3pm).

Kyel Reid’s debut will have to wait a little longer until the winger has recovered from knee ligament surgery.

PNE boss Grayson told the Evening Post: “Getting our targets in early was a big factor when we started planning for this season.

“We wanted to integrate the lads into the squad and get them used to our ways as quickly as possible.

“The squad didn’t need a lot of tinkering with after last season – we wanted to keep the majority of it together.

“We have added players where we think we needed strengthening and if necessary we can add to it as we go along.

“The lads who have come in have all brought something a bit different to the squad.

“I’m delighted with how they have settled over these last couple of weeks.

“It was nice to see Andy Little get himself on the scoresheet at Chorley the other night.

“Strikers always want to get off the mark as soon as they can, whatever game it is.

“The new lads are anxious to show me and the other players what they are capable of doing.”

Grayson might still do some further incoming business as the summer progresses.

But the focus at the moment is on movement in the other direction.

With 29 professionals on the Deepdale books, the numbers do need to come down.

No one will be forced out, with Grayson having a clean slate approach.

For the benefit of their long-term development, youngsters Nick Anderton, Jack Ryan and Steven James are likely to go out on loan.

PNE have been in contact with clubs who are keen to take them, and geographically want the trio to stay relatively local.

Last season they linked up to good effect with York City, loaning them Ben Davies and, later, Will Hayhurst.

It might be closer to the start of the season that loan deals start being done, with a busy schedule of pre-season games to get through.

“We are quite top-heavy at the moment when everyone is fit,” said Grayson.

“The squad might need trimming in terms of sorting the budget out and also for the benefit of individuals who might not feature much.

“One or two of the young players will go out on loan and one or two senior players could possibly leave. We are always looking at the market to see who might be available in terms of us strengthening.

“If someone comes up who really catches our eye then I will ask the question to the owner.”