Peter Ridsdale outlines Preston North End's summer transfer needs and gives his view on promising academy goalkeeper

Peter Ridsdale has given an outline of Preston North End’s summer shopping list and offered a glimpse into the future over a goalkeeper coming through the academy.

By Dave Seddon
Tuesday, 17th May 2022, 6:00 pm

It will be a busy close season at Deepdale as they seek to add more quality to the squad in the hope Ryan Lowe can have PNE challenging towards the top end of the Championship.

Ridsdale made no secret of the fact keepers, wing-backs and strikers are at the top of the list but he didn’t rule out strengthening other positions should an opportunity arise to do so.

Throwing things forward a few years, he also spoke of a youngster in PNE’s academy who the club have high hopes for.

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Preston North End's director and advisor Peter Ridsdale

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North End director Ridsdale told the Lancashire Post: “At the moment we are talking to loads of players and loads of agents.

"We don’t have that many positions that we want to strengthen but we do have quite a number of each position we might want to bring in.

"For example, sitting here today we don’t have a professional goalkeeper on the books, although we have a very good one in the academy at the moment who I hope will break through and stop us having to resort to the loan market in a few years.

Preston North End manager Ryan Lowe

"The three main parts of the squad which everyone would accept that we are looking to strengthen, you always want someone who can put the ball in the net, wing-backs everyone has recognised for some time that we would benefit from adding, and we’ve got no goalkeepers.

"If the right person in any position becomes available despite the fact we think we are strong in a particular area, of course you would try and add quality to the squad because we want to get better in every position all the time.

"At the moment vacancies dictate where we would initially look but opportunities that come up might mean we do opportunistically add players in an area you wouldn’t necessarily think we were looking at.”

The keeper Ridsdale refers to is James Pradic who has just finished his first year as a scholar and will begin his second in July.

Pradic, who was previously on Charlton’s books, joined PNE towards the end of the 2020/21 season and has played for Wales Under-17s.

North End will look at permanent signings and loans this summer as the squad is re-stocked.

The loan market is one which has had its gains over the last 18 months or so, with Sepp van den Berg, Daniel Iversen and Cameron Archer all shining.

So going down that route will have its attractions.

The release of 13 players from the first-team pool frees-up space on the wage bill, Tom Barkhuizen, Scott Sinclair, Paul Huntington and Joe Rafferty the headline names on that list.

It won’t be a straight swap of 13 out and 13 in because some of those released were nowhere near first-team contention in the season just finished.

Ridsdale does regard this summer as an ‘opportunity’ to refresh, North End having taken the decision to release so many players.

He admits some of those calls were tough to make but it gives them something of a clean slate.

"It was an opportunity, we took some tough decisions on letting players out of contract go and the next challenge is to get better players in,” said Ridsdale.

"That is not as easy as it sounds. We will do our best to take that opportunity so that we end up a lot stronger when we start next season than when we finished the last one.

"Don’t let anyone believe it is dead simple. What we do have however, are the slots in the 25-man squad and the cash freed-up from salaries of people who are leaving us.

"How we use that is the challenge, it is daunting and exciting at the same time.”