PNE boss eyes January targets

Preston boss Simon Grayson says the build-up to the January transfer window is well under way, with agents keeping his phone red hot.

Saturday, 26th November 2016, 5:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 6th December 2016, 12:42 pm
Stevie May made a comeback in the Lancashire Senior Cup

Grayson is open to the idea of doing some business in the new year in addition to the arrival of Tom Barkhuizen, who is already in the bag.

As ever, he has stressed that any potential signing would have to fit in with the tight-knit Deepdale dressing room and within the budget framework.

“We are assessing the situation and seeing who might be available,” said Grayson.

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“I’m getting plenty of calls at the moment from agents seeing what we might want, as every manager will be.

“What we have to be careful of is bringing in players just for the sake of it and upsetting the dressing room.

“One bad bit of business can disrupt a squad for the rest of the season, so you have to do your research.

“You have to make sure that if you bring someone in, it is for the right reasons.

“If someone is available who we think can do a job here, we would try and do it.

“I’ve always been backed by the owner when it comes to bringing people in.”

PNE will press ‘go’ on the deal for Barkhuizen when the transfer window opens on January 1.

The winger last week signed a pre-contract agreement to join Preston, a compensation fee agreed with his former club Morecambe.

Which areas of his squad Grayson will seek to strengthen, he has not said.

Many managers tend to be on the lookout for extra firepower, although North End’s goal return has been significantly better so far this season than last.

By January, it is likely that striker Stevie May will be back in first-team contention, giving Grayson another option.

May took another step on the comeback trail when he played 70 minutes of PNE’s Lancashire Senior Cup game against Bolton on Wednesday.

It was 12 months ago this weekend that the Scotsman tore three ligaments in his right knee in the 1-1 draw with Fulham at Craven Cottage.

Having to miss a year of football is something May was prepared for.

May said: “It’s coming up 12 months since I suffered the injury, which is a long time in terms of playing football.

“But when you bear in mind the severity of the injury, it is not bad going.

“That is credit to everyone who has helped me along the way and worked hard.

“When you get a good surgeon – the best – that is what they can do.

“In times gone by, you might not have got back from this type of injury.”

May is not putting a date on a possible first-team return, and is likely to need more behind-the-scenes games to build up his match fitness.

“I’m not sure when I’ll get back, I’m not setting any dates,” said the 24-year-old.

“If I set a date and then wasn’t quite back for that, people would start asking if something was wrong.”