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New faces on cards for PNE

Positive message: Bailey Wright

Positive message: Bailey Wright

Preston North End’s signings of Joe Garner and Paul Connolly will not signal the end of their January recruitment.

They have still got targets for the remainder of the transfer window as they look to reverse the form slide.

It is unlikely there will be any additional new faces ahead of Saturday’s clash with Yeovil at Huish Park.

But there is wheeling and dealing to be done before the January 31 deadline.

PNE boss Graham Westley is thought to be keen to bring in a winger after David Amoo’s exit to Tranmere.

There could be further moves to strengthen the defence in light of the number of goals being shipped lately.

Right-back Connolly arrived on loan from Leeds on Tuesday and began training with the squad today.

His arrival will free Jack King from his temporary right-back role and allow him to press for an attacking midfield slot.

Connolly can expect to go straight into the defence against Yeovil.

Budget-wise, the departures of Akpo Sodje, Chris Holroyd, Keammar Daley and Amoo in the past month helped free up finance for the Garner and Connolly deals.

A second wave of January shopping could signal a couple more departures in order to stay in line with the League One financial fair play rules.

The weekend trip to Yeovil signals a crucial spell for North End.

That is followed by back-to-back Saturday home games against Coventry and Shrewsbury, with a midweek visit to Crawley Town sandwiched in between.

Centre-half Bailey Wright says it is time for PNE to drive forward after the run of just one outright victory in their 10 league and cup matches.

Wright said: “As a group of players we want this club to do well and push on.

“We’ve got a passionate set of fans who aren’t happy with what they’ve seen recently.

“While we’ve got to look at what happened in the last game and learn from it, our main focus is on pushing on.

“The next game is a chance to make things better, put some points on the board.

“The league was always the priority and now we’ve only got that to concentrate on.

“We’ve got some work to do and hopefully we can kick on from here.”

Meanwhile, North End are expected to soon appoint a new head of the youth department.

The vacancy was created by the departure of Graham Alexander to take the manager’s role at Fleetwood in early December.

Alexander took youth team coach Chris Lucketti to the Cod Army with him.

Assistant head of youth Nick Harrison has been holding the fort for the past month.

But with the youth league having a winter break, he has only had one game to oversee, that being a 5-1 win over Blackpool.

North End have had a number of applicants for Alexander’s old job.

They have come both from outside the club and within the current coaching set-up at the centre of excellence.

The youth team resume their North West Alliance fixtures a week on Saturday against Burnley.

 

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