Full-backs next on PNE shopping list

Simon Grayson is chasing a new right-back and left-back
Simon Grayson is chasing a new right-back and left-back
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Simon Grayson is focused on strengthening the Preston North End back line after Will Keane’s arrival completed the building of their strike force.

Next on the PNE manager’s agenda is signing a right-back and a left-back, tasks that he is confident of finalising soon.

Bringing back keeper Sam Johnstone for a second loan spell is also on his ‘to do’ list but the ball remains very much in Manchester United’s court in terms of that deal.

It is United who have loaned Keane to North End for the forthcoming season, the striker having his first training session at Springfields yesterday.

Supporters should get their first sight of him in a Preston shirt in tomorrow’s friendly with Chorley at Victory Park.

Grayson said: “It is no secret that I am after a right-back and a left-back.

“The goalkeeper situation is one we would like resolved to but we are in Manchester United’s hands for that one.

“For the right-back and left-back positions, we have a couple of players in mind for each position.

“It is now up to me to decide which is going to be the best one for each position and then we can push the button on them.

“The full-backs and goalkeeper are the three positions we are concentrating on.

“We had a budget at the start of the summer to work with and so far we have done well with the signings and re-signings.

“If we feel we need to strengthen elsewhere we can do that but it is more important we get the full-backs sorted and get a keeper in, then we can see where we are.

“We have got a lot of good options already available in the squad.”

Although Grayson hopes to have two new full-backs in soon, it might be that he has to wait longer for Johnstone.

It hinges on David de Gea’s future at United, with the Spaniard being courted by Real Madrid.

Should De Gea leave Old Trafford and is replaced, or he opts to stay, Johnstone will be allowed out on loan.

But if United are left short, they will keep hold of Leyland boy Johnstone.

“United are waiting to find out what is happening with David de Gea,” said Grayson.

“Ben Amos has left to go to Bolton and that has left them a bit short of keepers.

“They will want to carry three keepers in their 25-man squad this season.

“If De Gea leaves and they don’t bring anyone in, Sam might be third choice which rules out bringing him here.

“But hopefully it will all get resolved and he comes here.

“There is a deal more or less in place for it to happen if things get resolved there.

“We are being patient and we feel that it is worth waiting for Sam.”

For tomorrow’s clash with Chorley (3pm), Grayson will field a different XI in each half in order to ease the squad back into competition action.

The only absentee is Chris Humphrey, who is away with Jamaica at the Gold Cup.