PNE boss in rallying cry
Simon Grayson has urged his Preston North End squad to finish this campaign strongly in order to take plenty of momentum into next season.
PNE were resuming action at Blackburn this lunchtime after the international break and have only eight games left.
Making the play-offs looks a tall order now, with nine points to claw back on sixth place.
Grayson will keep putting a big demand on his squad though, in order to make the most of the last five weeks of the season.
“Our players are fully aware that we still have a lot to play for, regardless of reaching other people’s targets,” said Lilywhites boss Grayson.
“We just want to do as well as we can, we don’t want our season to dwindle away and for us to finish 16th or 17th.
“If that happened, it would end up being an average season.
“But if we can finish where we are now or higher, it will have been a very good one.
“We have got some really big games coming up, starting with Blackburn today.
“On Tuesday night we have got Fulham, who need the points, then it’s Middlesbrough who are trying to get promoted.
“MK Dons look like they will need points, then it is Birmingham and Burnley.
“The games will quickly get chalked off and I’m looking forward to each one as much as the first game of the season.”
While keeping his focus on the remainder of this term, Grayson is now at the stage of beginning to look at what is needed for 2016/17.
Part of his thinking will involve which of the current loan players he might consider trying to secure on a permanent basis.
Eoin Doyle, Adam Reach, Callum Robinson, Marnick Vermijl and Anders Lindegaard have been borrowed from elsewhere.
Said Grayson: “We are analysing things and planning in terms of recruiting and who we let go, but we will not make any final decisions until the back end of this season.
“In terms of the players we have on loan, there are various things to look at.
“Are they good lads? Yes, they are.
“Have they contributed to the good season we’ve had here? They certainly have.
“There are lots of things to be worked out, what the budget is going to be, what positions we need to strengthen.
“Ultimately with the loan players, it depends on what their parent clubs want to do with them.
“Their clubs might think the lads have done well at Preston so want them back with them, it is their prerogative.”
When it comes to next season, Grayson is not overly worried about having to get by without the Football League’s emergency loan window.
He said: “What we have tried to do is have a few players who can play in different positions.
“As much as we can, we have gone down the standard loan route rather than the emergency one.”