Preston North End are trying to make plans in uncertain times

Preston North End are trying to put some plans in place for beyond the coronavirus pandemic but what happens shorter-term remains their main concern.

By Dave Seddon
Tuesday, 31st March 2020, 6:00 am

The Lilywhites have not played since March 7 and football is suspended at the moment until April 30.

There is no chance of the games starting then, with a summer start a possibility but not definite.

Like all clubs, North End are playing a waiting game on a return to training and playing.

Peter Ridsdale, advisor to Preston North End owner Trevor Hemmings

There have been reports that the Premier League might try to finish their season by playing all games at a couple of venues behind closed doors, with players isolated in hotels between matches.

That could work with there only being 20 clubs in the Premier League , but in the EFL there are 71 teams. As the wait goes on, North End have to do an element of planning.

Peter Ridsdale, advisor to PNE owner Trevor Hemmings, is at the forefront of that.

Ridsdale told the Lancashire Post: “We try to get on with things and there is some planning you can do.

“We’ve looked at season ticket prices for next season and we’ve been speaking to the sponsors we have.

“We need sponsorship in place for next season, although we don’t know when next season will start.

“With regards to players, we are focused on the lads here and keeping them fit.

“We’re still talking with the scouts about other players who are out there but there’s no market yet and this season has to finish first

“This summer we haven’t got many regular first-team players out of contract.”

Ridsdale says that within the EFL, there remains the strongest of desires to play the season to a finish.

He does not think there should be a strict deadline 
for that to happen, with as much time as is needed given over.

Said Ridsdale: “There is still a strong desire to complete this season.

“Also, why does it have to be finished by a certain date?

“There are leagues in different countries which finish at different times of the year and in circumstances like this there has to be flexibility.

“We have to complete the season. Why would you stop at 37 games and forget about promotion and relegation?”

The Invincibles Pavilion at Deepdale is being used by the NHS at the moment.

The Guild and Invincibles Lounges which are usually hospitality areas, have been handed over to NHS to use it to train staff who are fighting the pandemic.

The stand already houses the Minerva Centre which is a key part of the health care system in the city.

It hosts a number of clinics and services.