PNE boss draws up hit list

Neil Kilkenny's current deal with PNE runs out in the summer
Neil Kilkenny's current deal with PNE runs out in the summer
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Simon Grayson says he has compiled an early ‘wish list’ to strengthen Preston North End’s squad over the summer.

The list in not set in stone, with PNE boss Grayson having been in the game long enough to know that targets can change as time goes on.

But it is an early indication that he has identified which areas of the Deepdale squad need adding to.

“We have pretty much got our list ready of what we need to do this summer,” said Grayson, whose side host MK Dons today (3pm).

“We’ve been speaking to people and looking at where we can improve.

“It is amazing that you don’t hear from agents for months and then with summer looming, they are back on the phone again.

“We have our targets, so do other clubs.

“At this stage every club in the country is thinking ‘I would love X, Y and Z’ this summer.

“During the close season things can change.

“Someone might become available who you didn’t think was, while other clubs might beat you to it for financial or geographical reasons.

“I have an ideal wish list, some of whom we might get and others we might not.

“By the time we start our recruitment, some of them might be crossed off the list for varying reasons and others will have been added.”

Grayson has the certainty of being able to plan for what is needed in the Championship.

Clubs at either end of the table will have two lists in place, dependant on which division they end up in next season. That was something North End had to do last year as they pushed for promotion from League One.

Said Grayson: “Everyone plans for the next season, regardless of where they are.

“I was speaking to the Middlesbrough lads and they are planning two different scenarios, as are Burnley, Brighton, Hull, Derby and Sheffield Wednesday.

“This time last year, we were talking about Championship football potentially and also League One.

“We had to go down the line of preparation for both scenarios.

“Ultimately that preparation helped us this time last year for where we are now.”

Part of the planning for the 2016/17 campaign will involve which of the out-of-contract players might be offered deals.

The core of the squad have contracts beyond the end of this season, one of those who does not being Neil Kilkenny.

While a regular in most matchday squads, the last time he got on to the pitch was on Boxing Day at Huddersfield.

Said Grayson: “When you look at our recruitment in January, we brought some midfielders in to give us something different.

“Kila has been in and around the squad all the time, for whatever reason we have had different people starting or coming off the bench.

“He still has a part to play, he’s out of contract and we will discuss that at the back end of the season.”