PNE boss ready for hectic period

Simon Grayson admits he will almost be taking it '˜two games at a time' to get Preston North End ready for their busy weekend.

By The Newsroom
Saturday, 31st December 2016, 5:00 am
Updated Monday, 9th January 2017, 1:02 pm
Preston North End manager Simon Grayson
Preston North End manager Simon Grayson

The Lilywhites face Sheffield Wednesday at Deepdale today, then make their first visit to the Pirelli Stadium on Monday afternoon to play Burton Albion.

With the games just 48 hours apart, North End boss Grayson is stepping beyond the usual one game at a time mantra.

There will inevitably be changes between the two games irrespective of the result today, with an element of freshness needed for the trip to Burton.

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Grayson said: “We go Saturday-Monday whereas Burton played on Thursday and get two days extra rest.

“We concentrate on Sheffield Wednesday first but I have to think about Monday too, given the quick turn around.

“This is a time when the full squad have to be ready if called on.”

The North End squad does have the numbers to cope with changes and there could be three new signings in the squad which makes the trip to Staffordshire on Monday.

Tom Barkhuizen, Andy Boyle and Daryl Horgan will be registered as Preston players tomorrow when the transfer window opens, having agreed moves in the last few weeks.

Barkhuizen’s move is the more straight forward of the trio, with the former Morecambe winger likely to be in and around the match day squad.

The involvement of Boyle and Horgan will depend on international clearance coming in time, that needed with them having moved from Irish club Dundalk.

“Tom Barkhuizen is clear to play and hopefully the two Irish boys get the clearance to play very quickly,” said Grayson.

“It will be good to have them on board and available to play.

“We’ve had Tom here for a few weeks now and he’s fitted in well.

“Andy and Daryl have been training for the past couple of days, getting to know the group.”

Grayson expects movement out of the club when the transfer window opens, with a couple of ‘fringe’ players in talks about moves elsewhere.

He said: “I think two players will be at other clubs in time to play on Monday.

“They are in talks with clubs to get deals done in order to get game time.

“It’s about managing the squad properly, I said a few weeks ago that we’d had a few enquiries for some of our fringe players.

“This is a good opportunity for one or two of them to get game time and hopefully these deals go through.

“In the window there might be one or two others who go out and it could be that one or two players might come in.”

As far as matters on the pitch are concerned, Grayson is looking forward to facing Wednesday for the second time in a month - North End were beaten 2-1 by the Owls on December 3 at Hillsborough.

“It is going to be another big game and they come here in good form,” said Grayson.

“They had a fantastic result at Newcastle the other night, they look disciplined and organised.

“We had a tough game against them at Hillsborough but we could have got something out of it.

“Hopefully we can bounce back from a disappointing result against Leeds on Boxing Day.

“At times the performance was decent but we did not defend like we should have done.

“We’ve got to thrive on these big occasions where there is a big crowd and good atmosphere.”