PNE still waiting on Johnstone

Joe Garner models the new away kit
Joe Garner models the new away kit
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Preston North End will continue to play a game of patience in the chase of Sam Johnstone and are edging closer to landing their full-back targets.

Johnstone has gone on Manchester United’s tour of the USA and PNE manager Simon Grayson has reiterated his intention to wait for the keeper to become available on a long-term loan.

While it is likely to be later in the month before Johnstone’s position is resolved, Grayson hopes to have a new right-back and left-back at Deepdale much sooner.

Updating the situation with the efforts to strengthen the back line, Grayson told the Evening Post: “We have made our decision on who we are targeting.

“It is now down to the clubs who we are in talks with about when they are going to release players if they accept our bids.

“When we talk about bids, it might be loans, permanent deals, transfer fees or free transfers.

“It is not as easy as just saying ‘we want you, come here and sign’.

“There are clubs to deal with and wage structures to adhere to but the positive thing for us is the targets we have identified want to come here. Hopefully we can make it happen quickly because we want to start getting things implemented for the season.

“It is alright at the moment chopping and changing the team but there comes a stage where I need new players to be bedding in.”

PNE’s efforts to bring back Johnstone for another loan are entangled with United sorting out their keeper situation.

First-choice David de Gea continues to be linked with Real Madrid and his back-up Victor Valdes is set to be sold.

Grayson said: “If Valdes goes, do they get a new No.2 or do Anders Lindegaard and Sam Johnstone move up to be two and three?

“It is a complicated issue and only United and Louis van Gaal will know what they intend to do.

“We will be patient, we have other options but I think Sam is certainly worth waiting for.

“It would be foolish not to have other keepers in mind and there are ones available.

“I could have signed four, five or six different keepers by now but we have decided we want Sam to come back and are prepared to take that risk on getting him back.

“It is a slight risk because we are in the hands of United.

“The lad wants to come back which is a good starting point.”

North End host Hearts tomorrow (3pm) in their only home friendly.

Grayson is looking forward to a keenly-contested game against the Jambos who are back in Scotland’s top flight after a season’s absence.

He said: “It is the first game back at Deepdale since securing promotion and it will be a good test.

“Hearts did ever so well in winning their league and will be among the favourites to do well this season.

“We arranged the game through a connection we have in Scotland.

“I thought it would be an attractive game for us, Hearts will bring a good following.”

Admission is £10 adults, £7.50 seniors and £5 Under-16s. There are no cash turnstiles and fans are asked to give themselves plenty of time at the ticket office.

North End today unveiled their new blue and yellow away kit which will be on sale from August 1. Last season’s all yellow strip is being retained as a third kit.