PNE are the real deal now

Bailey Wright jumps with England's John Stones at the Stadium of Light
Bailey Wright jumps with England's John Stones at the Stadium of Light

Preston are content to be handing out slightly longer contracts as they prepare for their second season in the Championship.

Their three permanent summer buys to date – Chris Maxwell, Tommy Spurr and Eoin Doyle – have all signed three-year deals.

For the last few seasons at Deepdale, the policy has generally been for contracts to be limited to two years.

When they were in League One, North End did not want players stuck on long-term contracts in case they struggled to make the step up to the Championship.

Another consideration behind this summer’s change is that the clock starts ticking on a two-year deal quite quickly.

Lilywhites manager Simon Grayson said: “I think it shows what we are trying to do as a club.

“If players sign on a two-year deal, then a year down the line you are more or less sitting down to renegotiate a player’s contract.

“We are trying to tie players down on longer contracts and get the nucleus of the squad secure.

“It is a big thing that I have tried to look at over the summer, to keep the core of the players that have done ever so well.

“You can’t get away from how well we did last season with the group of players we had.

“People can always look on the negatives of what players or the team have done, but collectively you’ve got to see what we did.

“I want to keep the core of the group together and also add in a few new faces like we have done this summer.”

The contracts signed by Maxwell, Spurr and Doyle run until June 2019.

Of last season’s squad, Alan Browne is the only player contracted until that date.

Joe Garner, Jordan Hugill, Stevie May, Calum Woods, Ben Pearson and Liam Grimshaw are on contracts until June 2018.

A number of players’ deals run out at the end of the forthcoming campaign and North End will seek to extend some of them.

Greg Cunningham, Daniel Johnson, Bailey Wright, Tom Clarke, Paul Gallagher, Paul Huntington, John Welsh, Jermaine Beckford and Chris Humphrey are among the dozen in the last year of their deals.

The Preston squad reported back to Springfields for pre-season training yesterday, with them undergoing fitness tests.

Wright was the one absentee – he will be back on Monday after being given an extra few days off after being on international duty earlier in the summer.

The defender played twice for Australia, in their 2-1 defeat to England at the Stadium of Light on May 27 and then against Greece in Melbourne in early June.

North End play their first friendly next Friday against Bamber Bridge (7pm), then face Chorley the following day.

They are having a few days training in Ireland after the Chorley game, returning to play Oldham on July 19.

Grayson’s men then play Stoke City at Deepdale on July 23, before facing Morecambe three days later and then Bolton on July 30.