PNE boss is number crunching

Liam Grimshaw in action for PNE at Bamber Bridge. Photo: David Hurst
Liam Grimshaw in action for PNE at Bamber Bridge. Photo: David Hurst
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Simon Grayson admitted it took some juggling to get all of the Preston squad a run-out in last night’s friendly win over Bamber Bridge.

The Lilywhites manager had all 26 of his first-team squad available for the visit to the Sir Tom Finney Stadium, with them having come through the first week of pre-season training unscathed.

He managed to get all of them a decent length of time on the pitch, with three goalkeepers used.

North End were 2-1 winners against Brig, Matt Lawlor putting through his own net and Eoin Doyle scoring.

The hosts’ goal came from substitute Chris Churchman, just as the crowd was taking part in an 86th minute applause in memory of Brig stalwart Gerry Lawson.

Grayson told the Evening Post: “It wasn’t easy yesterday morning trying to fit 23 outfield players into the systems we wanted to play.

“Some of them played 45 minutes, others 30 minutes and it was nice to get everyone time on the pitch.

“All the new lads got a game, it was nice to see Liam Grimshaw in a Preston shirt and Chris Humphrey back in the fold after their injuries.

“Everyone who went out there was working with the aim of trying to be in the team at the start of the season and building-up their fitness.

“It was nice to have everyone available because often someone will get a knock or a niggle in training.

“The important thing about pre-season is to get everyone as fit as possible and available for selection.

“It is a gradual process, we had this game and then today’s visit to Chorley.

“We then go away to Ireland on Sunday night for a few days, that will be the next stage of our pre-season work.”

A crowd of more than 1,800 watched North End’s opening run-out, the team playing in the new navy blue away strip.

Grayson was pleased with the performances of the summer signings and is happy much of his transfer business has been done early.

“We stated through the summer that a lot of hard work was going on behind the scenes to get people in and that has paid off,” said Grayson.

“Some of the lads we got in we’d already had here and wanted to bring them back.

“Then there were others like Ben Pringle who we found out was available and moved quickly on.

“Ben is someone that I have always liked, he has a good left foot, good delivery and is a busy type of player.

“I thought in the first half there was some good link-up play between Ben, Paul Gallagher, Daniel Johnson and Alan Browne.

“Tommy Spurr stepped in really well and looked comfortable on the ball.

“All the new lads showed glimpses of what they are capable of doing.

“Simon Makienok played next to Jordan Hugill, over the next few weeks he will have different partners up front so that he can get used to how we want to play.”