Deal or no deal for PNE?

John Welsh suffered an ankle injury at Middlesbrough
John Welsh suffered an ankle injury at Middlesbrough
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Preston North End manager Simon Grayson is open-minded about dipping into the transfer market ahead of Monday night’s deadline.

Grayson is content with the strength and depth of the squad but like any boss always has his eye on making it better.

It is likely that the focus will be more on trimming the numbers in the coming days, that potentially freeing up space in the budget for incoming activity.

While the window closes to do permanent transfers at 11pm on Monday, the loan market opens for Football League clubs the following week – that allows loans for up to 93 days.

Grayson told the Evening Post: “First and foremost I need to get the size of the squad down regardless of bringing players in because we are probably a bit top-heavy.

“We strengthened a lot over the summer and I still think we have got some really good strength in depth.

“If something comes up which we think will make us better then we will have a look at it.

“I know what we might need and what we don’t need, so we will see where we are at.

“Everyone gets a bit carried away with the deadline, the window is shutting but that is only for Premier League clubs.

“The loan market opens and the 93 days nearly takes you up to the window opening again in January.”

Players on the fringes of the squad such as Keith Keane, Paul Huntington and David Buchanan, could move on.

They have yet to feature in a matchday squad so far this season, and on Tuesday afternoon featured in a friendly against Fleetwood instead of travelling with the squad to Middlesbrough.

That match also featured Kyel Reid who got more game time as he continues his comeback from knee surgery.

With regards to reducing the numbers, Grayson said: “First of all you have got to have clubs willing to take some of your players.

“We have had a couple of phone calls about one or two players but nothing concrete.

“If a concrete offer comes in and we think it is acceptable for the player and the club, we will try and do it.

“Last week Joel Byrom went to Northampton having not played a lot recently.

“People might question why we gave him another year last season but at the time we were getting people under contract and we felt loyal to Joel.

“We did not have the two young lads coming through at the time and also did not have Neil Kilkenny.

“Since then Joel has slipped down the pecking order and he needed some game time.”

Grayson and his staff were today assessing injuries to John Welsh and Bailey Wright ahead of Saturday’s home clash with Sheffield United.

Welsh suffered an ankle injury in the second half of the Middlesbrough game which was his first appearance of the season.

Centre-half Wright did not travel to Teesside because of a groin niggle which forced his substitution against Oldham.

Grayson also revealed that Andy Little and Paul Gallagher were only on the bench at Boro as they were carrying slight knocks.