Mix-and-match of the day for Grayson

Ben Pringle in training at Springfields (Photo: NEIL CROSS)
Ben Pringle in training at Springfields (Photo: NEIL CROSS)

Simon Grayson thinks the versatility of PNE’s squad can be a big string to their bow this season.

The Lilywhites boss wants to be able to mix-and-match his approach to games and has recruited with that in mind.

Recent arrivals Ben Pringle, Tommy Spurr and Callum Robinson can all play in more than one position.

Simon Makienok and Eoin Doyle present different types of options up front, something Grayson hopes can bolster the goal tally.

“We always try to make sure that we have different options within the group,” Grayson told the Evening Post.

“You don’t want to be too stereotyped, having similar players right the way through the squad, otherwise you can become predictable.

“We need versatile players who can play in different positions.

“You have to remember that there is no emergency loan market this season, so we have to carry a slightly bigger squad than last time.

“Also, you will always need different options for different matches.

“Look at what we have got up front – we have a couple of quick strikers, a target man, someone who holds the ball up…all different types.

“We have wide players with pace, others who are busy and clever who can get into pockets of space and spot a pass.

“In the midfield, we have ones who go box-to-box, we have goalscorers and defensive midfielders.

“We have to have the right nucleus to the squad to make you successful.”

Others in the squad showed their versatility last season, Greg Cunningham and Calum Woods for example playing both at full-back and in the centre of defence.

Paul Gallagher adapted to a deeper midfield role which enabled him to get on the ball earlier, as well giving the option of playing further forward.

Fit-again Liam Grimshaw can play both in midfield and at the back.

Grayson has been pleased with how the first few days of pre-season training have gone.

The squad reported back to Springfields last Thursday and have been doing sessions on the pitch and in the gym.

Preston have their first pre-season games at the end of the week, playing Bamber Bridge on Friday night (7pm) and Chorley the following afternoon (3pm).

Said Grayson: “It is great to be back, the players have looked refreshed and in good condition.

“You tell them to go away in the holidays and recharge their batteries, let their bodies recover from the season.

“They then have their fitness programmes to do, so that they are ready to start work when they come back.

“The fitter they are after the summer break means you can start with the footballs, rather than just having the boredom of the running.

“It makes it more enjoyable when they can get some of their sharpness back with the football work.

“The next few weeks will be tough but it benefits them.”