PNE settling in period

Preston North End's Manager Graham Westley
Preston North End's Manager Graham Westley
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Graham Westley is keen for his Preston North End squad to have a settled period of time after the upheaval of the last six weeks.

The PNE boss has greatly reshaped things at Deepdale since his appointment in mid-January.

He made nine signings in his first three weeks in charge, although one of them – Jamie McAllister – returned to Bristol City this week at the end of his loan spell.

With the new arrivals and the players he inherited gradually adapting to his regime, Westley thinks now is the time for some stability. It’s unlikely that there will be further forays into the loan market for the time being unless the squad is hit by injuries and suspensions.

Westley said: “The squad will evolve as the season goes along but now we have got to spend a little bit of time settling down with what we have got.

“As we get towards the summer we can start thinking about longer-term plans.

“So it’s important that the lads here are given a fair opportunity to show what they can do and stake a claim to be part of the future.

“There are a number of players who are really making a big effort to see this team drive forward.

“The team, led by their captain, are starting to show the type of progress that I want to see. We’ve planted the seeds and the shoots are coming through.

“I’m sure they will start posting points regularly.

“They have been through that early phase where they were learning about each other and learning about me.

“In many instances they were getting used to a new club, and for the lads already here, they were getting used to their new colleagues.”

Westley’s desire for stability is likely to mean he won’t be seeking an immediate replacement for McAllister.

He used Paul Parry at left-back against Sheffield United last week, and is likely to do so again for Walsall’s visit to Deepdale today.

With Westley beginning to see progress being made by the squad, there’s a real air of determination from him to be a success at North End.

He said: “I can’t tell how long it is going to take but I will be a successful manager at this club.

“That is not a cocky statement, it’s not an arrogant statement from me, that is a question of me knowing that I will do whatever it takes for us to get there.

“Results haven’t fallen into place yet, but in my first seven games at Stevenage we had one win, two draws and four defeats.

“The chairman might have been pulling his hair out then, but three years later he was smiling.”