PNE boss targets January signings

Preston North End's manager Simon Grayson celebrates at the final whistle
Preston North End's manager Simon Grayson celebrates at the final whistle
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Preston North End manager Simon Grayson is confident that more business will follow in the January transfer window after the deals done for Sam Johnstone and Adam Reach.

Johnstone was back between the posts for PNE’s 2-1 victory over Rotherham on Saturday after joining on a 28-day loan from Manchester United.

The Lilywhites have also struck a deal with Middlesbrough to extend winger Reach’s loan until the end of the season.

A striker and right-sided player are on the wish list as North End look to cover the loss of Will Keane who surprisingly returned to United last week.

Someone who could both of those jobs would appeal strongly.

Grayson said: “We have got one or two things going on at the moment.

“Managers are always asking the question of the people above them to see if they sanction deals.

“Every time we have tried to do something, the owner has always tried to back us.

“Losing Will Keane means we probably need a wide player and a striker – even someone who can do both roles.

“With the formation we are playing at the moment or with a 4-4-2 or 3-5-2, it would be nice to have someone who can be versatile.

“That is the area which first and foremost we are focusing on, after that we will wait and see what happens.”

Reach’s initial 93-day loan from Boro ended after Saturday’s game.

When he first signed at the end of September, the loan was due to run out over Christmas.

But during the November international break, the loan was halted for a few days and then re-started, that period stretching the 93 days through to Saturday.

Grayson said: “We are really pleased that Adam has signed for the rest of the season, it is fantastic that Middlesbrough have allowed that.

“As for Sam Johnstone, we are delighted to have him back with us.

“If we hadn’t been able to get Sam, we would have played Chris Kirkland who is a very good goalkeeper.

“But when Sam became available, with us knowing him and him knowing us, it made sense to bring him in.

“He has settled in like he’s never been away, despite not having played a lot of football for United of late.”

PNE’s win over Rotherham was something of a late show, a Jonson Clarke-Harris own goal in the 94th minute delivering the three points.

The Millers had taken the lead in the first half through Tony Andreu, before Eoin Doyle equalised.

With time almost up, a long throw-in from Marnick Vermij flicked off Clarke-Harris’ head.

Said Grayson: “I’m not sure that Marnick was on his way across to take the throw-in until I shouted him to!

“When you have that in your locker, you might as well use in the last minute of a game.

“Marnick threw it in and it hit one of their lads on the top of the head and went in.”