Preston North End director Peter Ridsdale is expecting changes to the club’s playing squad in the upcoming January transfer window – but any incomings may depend on getting rid of some individuals.
The Lilywhites have a large squad with several senior players not initially named in their 25-man squad back in September, including Josh Harrop, Paul Huntington and Joe Rafferty.
Both Rafferty and Huntington have since been added because of injuries to other individuals but they have been hardly used by previous head coach Frankie McAvoy until his departure in early December.
Quiz: Have Preston North End signed a player from each of these 20 clubs in the last 5 seasons?
New manager Ryan Lowe has already hinted at bringing in fresh faces next month, as he stated that he could look to add to ‘one or two positions’ following a 2-1 win over Barnsley in his debut match in charge at Deepdale.
What those positions are remain to be seen and it’s also not a certainty that PNE will be in a position to make signings at the start of 2022 as they could lose income if football goes behind closed doors again.
Nevertheless though Ridsdale has moved to reassure fans that there will be business done – but outgoings may need to occur first.
“It is very early days and there are a lot of factors to take into account, the first of which is that we do have a lot of players – in excess of the 25-man squad,” Ridsdale said regarding potential January business on the From The Finney podcast, per LancsLive.
“We’re still in the middle of a pandemic, which is expensive, and we will not be bringing in players to sit at the training ground and not play.
“And we will not be bringing players in if it means those in our 25-man squad then have to sit at the training ground and not play, when we are paying them good wages.
“So do I expect there will be some change in January? Yes I do, but it will be based on us having to make it cost neutral because we don’t know if we’ll have supporters in for the rest of the season, what our income stream is going to be and we already have more than 25 players.
“We will do our best, as we always do, to support the manager.”
Because of the size of PNE’s squad, it would be a surprise to see any incomings finalised before one or two depart.
The likes of Harrop and Rafferty would be at risk of a departure you’d imagine whilst Connor Wickham’s short-term contract is unlikely to be extended following his injury so those three could clear some money off the wage bill.
Lowe is naturally going to want some fresh faces though – PNE showed encouragement against Barnsley but there’s clearly areas that can be improved on, even though on the whole they have a pretty strong starting 11.
We do know though that there are contracts to sort out though as well as potentially bringing new faces through the door, so it could end up being a busy month for the Lilywhites.