PNE boss ready for hectic period

Preston North End manager Simon Grayson
Preston North End manager Simon Grayson
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Simon Grayson admits he will almost be taking it ‘two games at a time’ to get Preston North End ready for their busy weekend.

The Lilywhites face Sheffield Wednesday at Deepdale today, then make their first visit to the Pirelli Stadium on Monday afternoon to play Burton Albion.

With the games just 48 hours apart, North End boss Grayson is stepping beyond the usual one game at a time mantra.

There will inevitably be changes between the two games irrespective of the result today, with an element of freshness needed for the trip to Burton.

Grayson said: “We go Saturday-Monday whereas Burton played on Thursday and get two days extra rest.

“We concentrate on Sheffield Wednesday first but I have to think about Monday too, given the quick turn around.

“This is a time when the full squad have to be ready if called on.”

The North End squad does have the numbers to cope with changes and there could be three new signings in the squad which makes the trip to Staffordshire on Monday.

Tom Barkhuizen, Andy Boyle and Daryl Horgan will be registered as Preston players tomorrow when the transfer window opens, having agreed moves in the last few weeks.

Barkhuizen’s move is the more straight forward of the trio, with the former Morecambe winger likely to be in and around the match day squad.

The involvement of Boyle and Horgan will depend on international clearance coming in time, that needed with them having moved from Irish club Dundalk.

“Tom Barkhuizen is clear to play and hopefully the two Irish boys get the clearance to play very quickly,” said Grayson.

“It will be good to have them on board and available to play.

“We’ve had Tom here for a few weeks now and he’s fitted in well.

“Andy and Daryl have been training for the past couple of days, getting to know the group.”

Meanwhile, Chris Humphrey left North End last night, cancelling his contract by mutual consent.

The 29-year-old is expected to join a club in Scotland as a free agent when the transfer window opens.

Humphrey would have been out of contact in June and came to an arrangement to leave early to give himself a better chance of finding a new club.

He made 133 appearances in a PNE shirt, scoring eight goals, since joining from Motherwell in June 2013.

First-team opportunities had become fewer this season, with his last game being the EFL Cup defeat at Newcastle.

The signings of Barkhuizen and Horgan offered further competition for the wide roles.

There is likely to be further movement out of the club early next week, with another player who has been on the fringes of the squad having been discussing a loan move.