Simon Grayson is enjoying getting some proper time in on the training ground with his Preston North End players.
As the international break draws to a close attention increasingly turns to a return to Championship action at home to Barnsley on Saturday, North End having last played in their 1-0 defeat at Ipswich on August 27.
Seven games in 21 days to start the season meant Grayson spent most his time between matches doing some recovery work and then readying his side for the next challenge.
Now he is hoping some hard graft at PNE’s Springfields training base will pay off in another busy month as North End look to move up the Championship table with four defeats in their opening five league games leaving them second from bottom in the early table.
Grayson said: “Last week was a balance between some rest after a demanding start and working on a few things.
“We had a game at Wigan which was a good workout and we won 1-0.
“There was plenty of hard work on Thursday and Friday and then the players had the weekend off.
“The international players will come back and then we’ll get our preparation work in ahead of Barnsley.
“We’ll be tweaking a few things on the training field as we try to turn these narrow losses into positive results.”
Deadline-day arrival Aiden McGeady, signed on a season-long loan from Everton, will link up with his team mates for the first time later in the week as he is part of the Republic of Ireland squad that is set to start their World Cup qualifying campaign in Serbia tonight.
Alan Browne is with ROI’s Under 21s who are also in action in Serbia, in their case tomorrow, the PNE midfielder having started the 2-0 win against Slovenia in Waterford on Friday.
Bailey Wright missed out on international duty with Australia due an on-going toe injury which is being monitored.
PNE are hopeful Jermaine Beckford will be able to feature against Barnsley after limping out early in the defeat at Ipswich with a hamstring injury.
Former Tractor Boys midfielder Ben Pringle missed out on a return to his former club after hobbling off with a foot injury in the EFL Cup win over Oldham but it is hoped he will be back in training this week.
With the transfer window shut work is carrying on behind the scenes to tie more senior players down to new contracts after Daniel Johnson and Paul Huntington committed their futures to the club.
They were two of several players whose current deals are due to expire in the summer.
Grayson said: “All that is carrying on behind the scenes.
“We’re talking to representatives all the time and are hopeful of getting a few sorted. It’s never straight forward sorting any deal.”