Former Preston North End promotion-winning captain Ian Bryson believes current boss Simon Grayson has the recipe for success – despite last Thursday night’s play-off failure.
Rotherham United ended North End’s play-off dream with a 3-1 second-leg victory at New York Stadium.
But Bryson believes the Lilywhites have created a blueprint for future glory.
Ex-player Bryson praised the transformation of the PNE team under manager Grayson’s reign and believes the Yorkshireman can keep this squad together and challenge for the League One title next year.
He said: “Obviously we are disappointed with what has happened.
“Rotherham were the better side overall but from where we where a year or so ago under Graham Westley, to where we are here with Simon, has been an incredible transformation.
“We’ve come a long way –we aren’t a million miles away from where we should be...that’s in the Championship.
“We got 85 points this year, which in a normal season would have taken us up.
“But unfortunately Wolverhampton Wanderers and Brentford where too strong for the rest of the pack.
“Leyton Orient and Rotherham are now in the play-off final so every credit to them.
“But I think the football at Deepdale has been 10 times better than it has been in the last few years and I’m looking forward to next season already.”
Bryson also took time to praise the rise of top goalscorer Joe Garner, who went from fourth in the pecking order to steal the show as this season’s stellar striker, as well as the emergence of young hot shots Josh Brownhill and Alan Browne.
Thery were three success stories in a fine season and a core trio that Bryson believes Grayson can nurture and build around to fuel PNE’s quest to return to the second tier.
He said: “I think Simon will keep this squad together and he will strengthen.
“There have been a lot of bonuses this season – young Browne and Brownhill coming through –and a lot of good performances from loan players like Paul Gallagher.
“Garner has been the biggest plus.
“When he started the season he was probably Simon’s fourth-choice striker and he has pushed his way through to be number one.
“So we need to build the side around Joe and the young players and see how we go next season.
“I think it’s been a much better season and we have got a lot to look forward to at Preston North End.”