Preston North End are hoping to seal their first signing of the summer this week

Preston are edging close to their first piece of summer transfer business.

Monday, 17th June 2019, 6:00 am
Updated Monday, 17th June 2019, 7:00 am
Preston North End manager Alex Neil

The Lilywhites hope to land a permanent signing this week to kick-start Alex Neil’s strengthening of the squad.

It has been a quiet close season to date, both on the Preston front and elsewhere in the Championship.

However, with the return to pre-season training now less than a fortnight away, the transfer market should begin to pick-up.

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North End boss Neil did speak at the end of last season about the need for patience over the summer.

His reasoning behind that was PNE could be shopping in a different market than they had done in recent transfer windows.

This time last year, North End had completed all of their permanent incoming deals.

But they did make moves in the loan market after the start of the season for Manchester City pair Lukas Nmecha and Brandon Barker.

Their business in January was done early too.

Speaking last month, Neil said: “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.”

Neil is looking to add four or five players to the squad as he bids to improve on last term’s 14th place finish.

As North End look to bring players in, they need to move some out too.

Currently the first-team squad contains 32 players, that number including youngsters Adam O’Reilly, Jack Baxter, Jack Armer and Ethan Walker.

Of that squad, Graham Burke, Chris Maxwell and Connor Simpson finished last season on loan at Gillingham, Charlton and Carlisle United respectively.

Goalkeeper Maxwell is wanted by Hibernian on loan for next season, although a deal is yet to be struck on the Scottish club’s contribution to wages.

Burke and Simpson have both struggled to make much of an impact since they came to the club.

Ex-Shamrock Rovers man Brurke was limited to eight starts and seven substitute appearances in the first-half of last season before being loaned to Gillingham.

Simpson, 19, has made just one sub appearance since his move in January 2018 from Hartlepool.

He’s had loan spells with Lancaster City, Hyde United and Carlisle since.

PNE’s players return for pre-season training on June 27, with the first friendly at Bamber Bridge on Saturday, July 6.