PNE boss’ focus back on the pitch

Preston North End manager Simon Grayson

Preston North End manager Simon Grayson

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Preston North End manager Simon Grayson says he was pleased to have been able to turn his full attention back to the training ground over the past week after the close of the transfer window.

The Lilywhites brought in 10 players during the summer, either permanently or on loan, and sold Joe Garner to Rangers.

Three of the incoming deals were done in the hours leading up the deadline, with Aiden McGeady, Alex Baptiste and Marnick Vermijl coming in.

All are in the squad for this afternoon’s Deepdale clash with Barnsley (3pm).

The close of the window has meant Grayson being able to put the phone down and get on with working with the squad at Springfields in a bid to get them heading up the Championship table.

Grayson said: “I don’t like being sat behind a desk talking to agents, I want to be out there working on the grass, coaching a helping improve the players as individuals and as a team.

“We work hard as a staff here to improve people.

“As a club, we don’t tend to buy the finished article or get players at the very top of their game.

“Sometimes we get players who are unwanted at their clubs and we have to restore their confidence, make them into better players.

“I would say our track record of doing that over the last few years has been very good.

“You might say that Aiden McGeady falls into the bracket of coming here to prove one or two people wrong – there are those who have been ready to write him off.

“We see him as someone who has bags of talent and experience, with more than 70 international caps.

“Last season, we had Adam Reach who could do things from wide areas and we think Aiden can do that this year.

“People ask why we didn’t go out and sign another striker.

“What we have done is look at the situation and maybe we aren’t creating enough chances in the first place.

“It is about giving the strikers better opportunities and hopefully Aiden can help improve that side of things.”

Grayson admitted to having to play a game of patience last week as he waited to complete his summer shopping.

“Fans get frustrated when they don’t see anything happening but they don’t see half the things which go on,” said Grayson.

“Someone should film the life of a manager or chief executive for the month leading up to the deadline, it is amazing what can happen.

“We wanted to sign Marnick Vermijl earlier in the summer but we were being quoted ridiculous figures in June and July and Sheffield Wednesday didn’t want to sell him then.

“It was not until we pushed and pushed and told them we were going to sign someone else, that they backed down a bit, hence it being so late.

“With Baptiste, we were in the hands of Middlesbrough.

“They had to wait on people coming back and he was in their squad for the first two Premier League games.

“It was on the radar for a long time but we had to wait for Boro to let him out.”