Simpson praises his towers of strength

Paul Simpson has put his search for an experienced centre-half on the back burner after admitting young pair Sean St Ledger and Liam Chilvers are up to the job.

The Preston boss gave the new partnership a public vote of confidence today when he declared he was no longer in any rush to find a wise old head to steady the ship.

Simpson could now wait until the transfer window reopens in January to go shopping for a defender who, if required, could act as a calming influence at the back.

And he poured cold water on renewed speculation that former skipper Chris Lucketti could still be a loan target.

Simpson said: "To bring someone like Chris back on the contract he is on at Sheffield United he would need to go straight into the team.

"But in my opinion, the two lads in there at the moment have done extremely well for us, and it would be wrong of me to leave either of them out."

Lucketti, 35, who was an unused substitute for the Blades in last night's 4-2 Carling Cup defeat to Birmingham, has also been linked this week with a move to Friday's opponents Burnley.

St Ledger, 21, and Chilvers, 24, have forged a solid partnership since stepping up to the Championship this season from the lower divisions.

With classy 20-year-old Kelvin Wilson as back-up, Simpson is happy to stick with what he has at the moment rather than spend money on a player who, in the short-term at least, might be surplus to requirements.

He told the Evening Post: "I'm not looking at a loan at the moment. I'm happy with the squad we have got right now.

"Of course all managers are always looking to see if there is anything better out there. But I'm thinking more long-term.

"I am still keeping my eyes open for that experienced centre-half, but, as things stand, I'm not in any rush.

"We have lost Youl Mawene with a bad injury and Claude Davis was sold before I got here. It left us with just three younger lads at the back.

"I've got to say they have done brilliantly and our league position speaks volumes for the way these guys have settled in.

"There is still a role there for an experienced centre-half if the right one became available.

"But right now the situation is not urgent."

St Ledger cost North End 225,000 from Peterborough and Chilvers was captured on a Bosman from newly-promoted Colchester.

With Davis' sale bringing in more than 2m and right-back Tyrone Mears also netting the club a seven-figure sum, Preston are massively in profit in the defensive area.

And considering Simpson's side have conceded only 12 goals in their first 13 league games – and four of those came in two trips to East Anglia – it is beginning to look like a

recruitment job well done.

How well have the defensive pair done? Send us your view.