PNE boss happy with squad strength

Jordan Hugill
Jordan Hugill
  • Simon Grayson expects there to be no incoming activity
  • Striker Jordan Hugill set for another loan spell
  • Young forward has played six games for Tranmere
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Preston North End are predicting a quiet end to the loan window which closes on Thursday.

Lilywhites manager Simon Grayson is content with the depth of his squad for the run-in to the end of the season.

The purpose of the loan was for him to get some game time so that he is ready for us for next season.

In terms of movement the other way, only striker Jordan Hugill could feature in some outgoing business.

His 28-day loan to Tranmere Rovers ends on Thursday and there might be another loan spell on the cards.

If the Wirral outfit decide against keeping him, there are believed to be other clubs interested in taking him until the end of the season.

Hugill joined Tranmere last month in order to build-up his match fitness after a long absence through injury.

The 22-year-old has played six times for Rovers – four starts and two substitute appearances – but has not found the net.

Grayson said: “We will see where we go with that one.

“Jordan has been in and out of their team and we are pleased that he has had some involvement.

“The purpose of the loan was for him to get some game time so that he is ready for us for next season.

“He was out injured for a long time and we needed to get Jordan in and around someone’s first team for a few weeks.”

Hugill is well thought of by Grayson and the PNE boss was disappointed to lose him for a big chunk of the season.

He damaged knee cartilage in September’s 3-1 defeat at Walsall, a game in which he got sent-off.

The summer signing from Port Vale returned to training in January.

Once he had got a good spell of training under his belt, North End decided to loan him out so he could work on his match fitness.

They were able to do that knowing they had plenty of options to play up front.

It has been Joe Garner and Jermaine Beckford up front of late, with Kevin Davies and Sylvan Ebanks-Blake backing them up from the bench.

Andy Little is also back in the frame, getting his first slice of action since January as a late sub in Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Barnsley.

As well as Hugill, North End have Jamie Jones, Keith Keane, Lee Holmes and young striker Jack Ryan out on loan.

Goalkeeper Jones is with Rochdale for the rest of the season, joining them last month after returning from a spell at Coventry.

Keane joined Stevenage three weeks ago and Holmes went to Exeter last week.

First-year professional Ryan is on a youth loan at Conference North side Stockport County.

Both Keane and Holmes are out of contract this summer and their futures are away from Deepdale.

The pair are involved in a battle to reach the League Two play-offs with their respective loan clubs.

Stevenage and Exeter are ninth and 10th in the division respectively, with Stevenage three points better off.

After joining Exeter, Holmes said: “Everything is up in the air at the minute so my main concern is playing football here to the best of my ability for the next six or seven weeks and then just see what happens in the summer.”

An injury sustained on the first day of pre-season training meant it was October before Holmes was fully fit.

He has played just once for Preston this term as a late sub in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy win over Port Vale.

Holmes had a loan spell at Portsmouth over the winter.