Know-how is the key for PNE

PNE will miss the experience of skipper Tom Clarke, out with a ruptured AchillesPNE will miss the experience of skipper Tom Clarke, out with a ruptured Achilles
PNE will miss the experience of skipper Tom Clarke, out with a ruptured Achilles
Preston boss Simon Grayson's summer recruitment is likely to have a Championship-ready element to it.

The Lilywhites have done good business at the younger end of the market and also with players from divisions below.

Tom Barkhuizen has been a hit after being signed from Morecambe.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Chris Maxwell stepped up from League One, while Andy Boyle and Daryl Horgan were recruited from Dundalk in the League of Ireland and have made an impact.

North End have taken players from other clubs’ reserves in the shape of Ben Pearson, Callum Robinson, Daniel Johnson and Liam Grimshaw.

There is scope for similar deals, with Sean Maguire at Cork City on the radar.

However, Grayson wants to add experience too as he looks to build on this season.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“We’ve got a really talented group, a young group as well compared to a lot of teams,” said Grayson.

“If you look at the teams that are in the top six or have gone up, they’ve got experienced players. We have got some experience but we’ve gone down the line of signing young, hungry players with a lot of potential.

“Maybe this summer we might just need a bit more experience about us.

“I’m not talking 34 or 35-year-olds who are past it, but lads who have played for a good amount of time and can help the younger ones along the way.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

PNE have lost experienced campaigners Tom Clarke and Greg Cunningham from 
the defence recently. While Cunningham will be back from his fractured leg in time for pre-season training, Clarke is out until early 2018 after rupturing his Achilles tendon.

Since Clarke suffered the injury early in the Good Friday clash at Huddersfield, North End have leaked 10 goals.

His centre-half position is one where Grayson could well be looking for experience.

In the shorter term, his midfield options are limited for today’s Deepdale clash with Rotherham.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Paul Gallagher will join the engine-room missing list as he serves a one-match ban, the legacy of his sending off for handling on the line against Newcastle last Monday.

“At one time, midfield was an area where we were the strongest,” said Grayson.

“We are currently without Gally, Ben Pearson and John Welsh, while we loaned out Liam Grimshaw.”

Alan Browne and Daniel Johnson are most likely to play in central midfield, another option being Ben Pringle.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The summer signing from Fulham was on the bench at Newcastle – the first time he had made a matchday squad since Janaury 31.

Pringle has been linked with a summer move to today’s visitors Rotherham, a club he served for four years.

Grayson said: “Ben was in the team at the start of the 
season and did well.

“An asthma attack meant he missed a couple of games and the emergence of others has kept him out.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“We were short in midfield at Newcastle, hence him being on the bench.”

Meanwhile, North End are holding their community day at Deepdale tomorrow.

At the heart of it will be a charity game which sees a fans’ team play a Grayson XI, made up of ex-PNE players and celebrities from the 
music and showbiz world.

The game kicks off at 2pm and at half-time, the player of the year awards will be presented on the pitch.

Entry is by charity donation to Prostate Cancer UK.