Business as usual for PNE

Paul Huntington hopes for a first run-out of the season tonight
Paul Huntington hopes for a first run-out of the season tonight
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Preston North End will turn their attention back to the pitch tonight following the close of the transfer window and the speculation which surrounded Simon Grayson being linked with his former club Leeds.

It was a relatively uneventful deadline day at Deepdale with just a couple of outgoing pieces of business done.

They turned Stuart Beavon’s loan at Burton Albion into a permanent deal, the striker making the switch on a free transfer after the remainder of his contract was cancelled.

Jack Ryan’s youth loan at Stockport was extended until November 2 after a promising start to his time there.

As expected there was no incoming business, with the squad still top-heavy in numbers.

The opening of the Football League’s loan window next week allows scope for further squad strengthening should North End be able to create space in the budget.

It is understood that Ipswich made two enquiries last week about Joe Garner, despite the striker having just signed a new two-year contract.

But the Tractor Boys were told he was not for sale, in line with the club’s policy throughout the summer.

PNE manager Grayson had to play down speculation with regards to his own future after finding himself odds-on with some bookmakers for the vacancy at Leeds.

His focus is firmly fixed on trying to steer a course past Shrewsbury in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy at Deepdale this evening (7.45pm).

Regarding the link with Leeds, a club he managed for more than three years, Grayson said: “People can speculate about anything they want to do and bookmakers can do this, that and the other, but I’m certainly enjoying what I’m doing at Preston.

“I’m sure the club have had no approach and I have had no approach, and that is the end of the matter at this moment in time.

“I suppose it proves you are doing a half-decent job but also when one or two players are linked with bigger moves as well, it shows where the profile of the club is at.”

Grayson will make changes to the Lilywhites side tonight, both enforced and voluntary.

Chris Humphrey, Bailey Wright and Scott Wiseman are away on international duty.

A couple of other players are carrying knocks, with Grayson needing to strike a balance between giving some of his squad much-needed game time and the fact PNE do not play after tonight until a week on Saturday.

There could be a first game of the campaign for central defender Paul Huntington.

His quest to climb the pecking order was hindered by a broken hand suffered in July’s friendly with Liverpool.

Huntington had surgery to pin the broken bone and since returning to training, has played in a couple of behind-closed-doors friendlies.

Said Grayson: “We want to win this game, it is no different to any other game.

“People looks at the JPT and think it is a competition that we have no real interest in.

“But it is a way to get to Wembley and a way to make some money.

“Whatever team I put out, we want to win the game.”