Alex Neil in no rush to show Preston North End’s hand in transfer market

Preston manager Alex Neil
Preston manager Alex Neil

Preston are taking a steadier approach to their incoming transfer business during the close season as they look to increase the quality of the squad.

Past transfer windows have tended to see an early flurry of activity but PNE manager Alex Neil knows a bit more patience could be prudent.

That does not mean work is not going on behind the scenes – far from it.

It is understood that Preston officials have met with at least two potential targets to talk about moves.

How quickly those talks could turn into something more concrete would depend on a few things – interest from other clubs and a willingness from the players involved to get a move completed, for starters.

Neil has seen some quick business done in the last three windows.

Three of his five winter buys were done in the first three days of January, while last summer most business was done by mid-June.

The exceptions were the loan deals for Lukas Nmecha and Brandon Barker, which were completed during the second week of the season.

Such an option will not be available this summer, with all incoming permanent and loan business having to be done by Championship clubs by 5pm on August 8.

In January 2018, the deals to sign Louis Moult and Billy Bodin were done early.

Moult’s move was agreed a few weeks before the window opened and then registered on the first day of business.

Talking about North End’s approach to business, Neil said: “In the last two windows we got it done really quickly.

“It happened for a variety of different reasons.

“One was that we were a bigger fish in that pond of where were shopping.

“Now we are upping the levels, things can become more complex and a bit more difficult.

“We just need to bear that in mind – we don’t want to dive in and take the first thing that comes along. What we will do is wait for the best possible outcome that we can get for the positions we want to strengthen.”

Ideally, Neil wants to bring in players with Championship experience on their CV.

As well as being used to the standard required, they will know the physical demands too.

Bearing in mind North End’s injury list this season, that is a key factor.

Said Neil: “People who have played in the Championship know the rigours of it.

“Naturally their bodies are going to be more suited to the load the league puts on you.

“What you want is players who can churn out 40 games a season or so.”

Elsewhere on the planning front, North End are finalising their plans for pre-season.

They are lining up a series of friendly games and hope to be in a position to announce them all in the next week or so.

The squad are due to report back for pre-season training in the last week of June, with the 2019/20 season starting on August 3.

The fixture list comes out on June 20.