Dave Seddon’s Press View

Simon Grayson is happy with the strength of his squad for the run-in
Simon Grayson is happy with the strength of his squad for the run-in
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It made a change for the Football League’s emergency loan window to close without hardly a murmur from Preston supporters.

The end of a transfer window sparks debate at every club over how well or otherwise a squad has been strengthened.

Probably the last handful of window closures have seen some PNE fans question out loud the business or otherwise done before the deadline.

Thursday teatime’s shut-off for loan deals caused not even a flutter in these parts.

There seems a general acceptance that the Preston squad is in rude enough health to maintain its determined challenge for automatic promotion from League One.

With every position having cover, where could you reasonably have seen it being strengthened?

Even with four players away on international business for the Fleetwood game, there will still be a couple of seniors kicking their heels in the Highbury Stadium main stand tomorrow.

Fellow promotion challengers Bristol City and Swindon have taken a similar view to North End, with no last-minute loans taken out to help with one last push.

MK Dons added just one player, striker Rob Hall, with no late business done by 
fifth-placed Sheffield United.

Preston’s squad strength is perhaps proof that it often takes a few transfer windows for a manager to build what he wants.

The window which shut this week was the ninth in which Simon Grayson could have done business since arriving at Deepdale.

It reality it was his eighth, the loan window of spring 2013 already having been running a few weeks when he was appointed.

He did not make any signings in those early months and there was no incoming business done at Deepdale in this latest emergency loan window.

However, in between, Grayson has been trading since summer 2013, gradually putting his mark on the squad and building it to a standard which he thinks can sustain an automatic promotion challenge.

Steadily it has been added to, January’s £50,000 signing of Daniel Johnson really raising the quality-level bar, if the midfielder’s first two months here are anything to go by.

Along the way there has been Kevin Davies, Tom Clarke, Chris Humphrey, Paul Gallagher, Neil Kilkenny, Scott Wiseman, Callum Robinson and Jermaine Beckford, to name but a few.

Into the mix they have gone with players inherited by Grayson such as Joe Garner, Scott Laird, Paul Huntington, John Welsh and Bailey Wright.

The next five weeks will tell us whether it is strong enough and good enough to gain a return to the Championship.

The tone of social media and the message boards over the last couple of days would suggest fans think it has the necessary ingredients to make a determined push.

It could well be that next season is the last when we are talking about the emergency loan market.

FIFA this week granted the Football League an extension to the loan window for the 2015/16 campaign.

After that, they want English football to fall in line with the rest of world and only trade in the two main transfer windows.

I would hope that the Football League, with the backing of the FA and the Premier League, will battle hard to keep the emergency loan system in place.

We have seen how clubs in the Premier League, to whom the emergency loan market is not available, stockpile players on a ‘just in case’ basis.

It means top-heavy squads with young talent often blocked.

Should emergency loans be stopped, the evidence would point to Football League clubs having to stockpile or survive from window to window with what they have got.

Being able to loan players between September and November and then again in February and March, means squads can be refreshed and strengthened gradually.

It is good for the game in that younger players from the sanitised world of the Premier League Under-21s reserves set-up can get a taste of real life by moving on loan.

The emergency system means that can be done for long or short spells, abolishing the current arrangement would see loans done only on a full or half-season basis.

As Preston get ready to face Graham Alexander’s Fleetwood, it is ironic that the anniversary of Grezza signing for PNE fell this week.

It is 16 years since he put pen to paper on a £50,000 move from Luton. A bargain indeed.