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PNE game in doubt

Debut day: Alex Marrow has already made his first start at Yeovil

Debut day: Alex Marrow has already made his first start at Yeovil

Preston North End’s new-look side is set for its premiere against Tranmere Rovers at Prenton Park tomorrow - if the game beats the weather.

A pitch inspection has been arranged for 10am on Saturday morning to see if the pitch is playable.

Graham Westley has brought in nine players over the last three weeks, with the trip to the Wirral being the first time all have been available.

It might not be the case that all nine start the game, but the side will certainly have a fresh look about it.

Four of the new boys have already pulled on the North End shirt – Chris Holroyd, Jamie McAllister, Andy Procter and Alex Marrow.

The other five are champing at the bit for their debuts, and are keen to show the PNE faithful why Westley brought them to Deepdale.

While North End boss Westley is eager to get the first win of his tenure in the locker, he admits a degree of patience is needed with so many new faces in the squad.

He told the Evening Post: “I’m a patient person, I don’t expect things to come together just like that.

“If you do expect things to click so quickly, then you are daft.

“I would like things to be right, things to be organised and the building blocks in place, but you can’t get there in seconds.

“Day by day we are taking new steps forward at technical and tactical levels – we’re building the characters of players.

“When you’ve made nine new signings, there is obviously going to be a lot of ‘new lad syndrome’ in that they’re not going to understand your system of play or tactical requirements right away.

“There is going to be that ‘getting to know you stage’, as there would be in any job.

“It’s a bit like watching Big Brother on day one and again on day 30 – in between they get to know each other much better.

“We’ve got to help them along and be patient.”

There will be a new skipper tomorrow, although Westley was keeping his cards close to his chest as to who that would be.

And whoever gets the armband, they won’t necessarily be wearing it long term.

Said Westley: “I may not make my mind up until the summer on who the permanent appointment is going to be.

“There is a lot of evolution going on and that will continue.

“It is quite conceivable that I’ll give the armband to someone between now and the end of the season, and then have a look at the whole picture again, once we have worked out what the squad is going to be.

“The captain has to be the right one for the squad at that moment and in the long term.

“A decision over who the captain should be is one which it pays to get right, so it pays to take some time over.”

PNE will be missing banned pair Craig Morgan and Paul Coutts tomorrow.

Centre-half Morgan serves a one-game suspension after his red card at Yeovil a fortnight ago, and Coutts will sit out two matches for totting up 10 bookings.

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