Boss Simon Grayson eyes PNE signings

Preston North End could have up to six more transfer targets on their radar in the summer to follow-up this week's signing of goalkeeper Chris Maxwell.As things stand, the Lilywhites have 21 players on their first-team books.
Marnick VermijlMarnick Vermijl
Marnick Vermijl

As things stand, the Lilywhites have 21 players on their first-team books.

That number would go down to 20 if Josh Brownhill chooses not to accept a new contract.

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Among that 20 is injured striker Stevie May – who is not due back from knee surgery until the season is well underway – together with youngsters Ben Davies, Mat Hudson and Clive Smith.

So there is scope for plenty more business to be done in the coming weeks.

With the Football League’s emergency loan system having been scrapped, North End will be looking to put a squad together of sufficient numbers to operate between transfer windows.

Loan deals can still be done but must run from window to window or for the full season.

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The one exception is for goalkeepers, clubs able to bring in an emergency stand-in if their only available keepers have played less than 10 games at first-team level.

PNE’s shopping list will definitely include another keeper, two strikers and a defender.

A winger is also needed, so too a midfielder if Brownhill leaves.

Vacancies have been left by the return of five loan players to their parent clubs – Marnick Vermijl, Adam Reach, Callum Robinson, Eoin Doyle and Anders Lindegaard.

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Some of them could be on the radar in terms of returning but there is no certainty that will happen. It is understood that North End officials have sounded-out Sheffield Wednesday about Vermijl’s availability.

With the Owls having reached next Saturday’s play-off final, it is likely that PNE will have to wait beyond then for an answer on the Belgian.

Reach has got the prospect of Premier League football at Middlesbrough should he get a chance to prove his worth there in pre-season.

Lindegaard is one of a few keepers on Preston’s list as they look to firm-up that area of the pitch.

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Simon Grayson wants strong competition for the gloves, with Maxwell’s arrival on a Bosman from Fleetwood the first step towards that.

Ideally, the next keeper to come in would be a permanent signing too.

Another move for Sam Johnstone, who has twice been on loan at Deepdale, cannot be discounted.

However, it proved too difficult to get him out of Old Trafford last summer for various reasons and similar obstacles might be in the way again this year.

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New boy Maxwell intends putting a strong claim in when it comes to being first-choice.

“I want to be the number one for Preston North End, it’s as simple as that,” said Maxwell who has signed a three-year contract.

“I will fight day in, day out for that and when my chance comes I will make sure I take it and that is my main aim.”