Early business can pay off for PNE

Simon Makienok was one of seven summer signings made by PNE
Simon Makienok was one of seven summer signings made by PNE
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Simon Grayson thinks that having the majority of his squad in place for the whole of pre-season will benefit Preston in the campaign ahead.

The Lilywhites did much of their transfer business early before the players reported back, only Callum Robinson and Ben Pringle arriving a few days after training started.

There will in all likelihood be a new right-back arriving before the close of the transfer window following the long-term knee injury suffered by Calum Woods.

But the fact Grayson has been able to work with a full squad for the best part of five weeks, is something the North End boss is grateful for.

“What we tried to do was get the players in early,” Grayson told the Evening Post.

“We knew what we were going to be working with in terms of budget and knew what areas of the pitch we needed to strengthen.

“There were the three lads who had been on loan who we decided to bring back and the four new faces.

“The aim was to get them in before the start of training or as near as possible to then.

“Most were here in time for the first day, which I feel will be very beneficial.

“Who knows what is still around the corner potentially in terms of what else we want to do?

“But we feel that so far, our recruitment has gone well.”

Chris Maxwell and Simon Makienok were the first two signings of the summer.

Then came Tommy Spurr, Eoin Doyle and Anders Lindegaard, with Robinson and Pringle signing soon after.

Said Grayson: “The nucleus of the squad was good from last season, hence the new players had to be able to fit into the group.

“We have always liked to do that because we have a special group of players here whose camaraderie is excellent.

“Having that spirit has been a big part of what we have done.

“I’m grateful for the people above me for making these signings happen.

“I have been at clubs or I know of clubs who have not done business until the last minute because they want to save on wages in June and July.”

As far as recruiting another right-back is concerned, it could well be that North End have to wait until the season is under way.

They are looking at a couple of different options, although at the moment Marnick Vermijl is not one of them.

He spent last season on loan with PNE from Sheffield Wednesday.

North End would like the Belgian back at Deepdale and Vermijl is keen too.

But the Owls’ asking price is believed to be well into seven figures and way beyond what PNE will pay.

The transfer window closes at the end of the month, so there is plenty of time to get business done yet.

North End have options to fill in on the right-hand side, whether that is in a flat back four or with wing-backs in a 3-5-2 formation.