PNE's well-deserved break
Simon Grayson will give the Preston North End squad a deserved pat on the back today before sending them off on their summer holidays.
The players were reporting in to Springfields this morning for a debrief on the season and to get their fitness programmes for the close-season break.
They are off until June 30 when pre-season training starts, although some will be in over the summer in order to recover from injuries.
Paul Gallagher and Alan Browne are both going in for hernia operations over the next couple of weeks and then have rehab work to do.
North End boss Grayson was pleased to finish off the season with a battling display against Leeds on Saturday, which earned a 1-1 draw.
Jordan Hugill came off the bench to score an injury-time equaliser after Chris Wood had put the visitors in front from the penalty spot.
Grayson said: “We are in for a quick meeting today and then the lads can go on their holidays proud of what they have achieved this season.
“I’m delighted with how we how we have done – to finish 11th is very good.
“If you had predicted before the start of the season that we would finish in the top half, a lot of people would have said, ‘Who are you kidding’?
“Ultimately we have done that and can be very chuffed with what we have done.
“We have got an honest group of players here who have battled in every game we have played – there haven’t been many matches when were totally out of it.
“This summer I’ll get away for a couple of holidays but a lot of the time will be spent trying to improve the squad.
“We are back on June 30, which gives us five-and-a-bit weeks off, which is a timescale I always try to work off.
“Gally and Browney are going in for hernia operations.
“We’ve know about Gally’s injury for a long time but Browney’s was only diagnosed in the last week or so.”
Grayson felt the point which PNE got against his former club Leeds, was the least they deserved.
The equaliser from Hugill was his fifth goal of the season, with the striker earning the praise of his manager.
“Jordan is a willing and game lad, still raw, but he will chase anything,” said Grayson.
“His perseverance got him the goal and him trying to set up Eoin Doyle first of all was the right thing to do.
“His pass to Eoin got cut out but fortunately the ball came back to him and he scored.
“We put Eoin and Jordan on to mix it up a bit up front.
“The plan was always to give Eoin half-an-hour because he has looked very sharp over the last few weeks.
“It was just a case of whether it was Jermaine Beckford or Joe Garner who went off then.
“We brought Jermaine off after an hour because we just thought he had run his race.
“After a long-term injury, you have your highs and lows during games.
“It is never easy playing against a team where you are still very popular.”