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Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Are Preston Aiming To "Do A Charlton?"

After a season of turmoil for Preston North End in the last campaign, boss Graham Westley has gone ahead with dismantling and rebuilding a squad aiming for promotion back to The Championship after two years away.

It is something that Charlton Athletic manager Chris Powell did this time last year; the Addicks chief oversaw the arrival of twelve Summer arrivals including Rhoys Wiggins and Danny Hollands from Bournemouth, Danny Green from Dagenham & Redbridge, Matt Taylor from Exeter City and Michael Morrison from Sheffield Wednesday.
Green made over 30 appearances last season
Departures from The Valley were the likes of Alan McCormack, Jose Semedo, Carl Jenkinson and regular goalkeeper Rob Elliot joining Swindon Town, Sheffield Wednesday, Arsenal and Newcastle United respectively.

It now seems as if Westley is following suit.  It's not even the end of June yet and the former Stevenage manager has already raided his former side for the services of John Mousinho (below left) and Scott Laird (below right) as well as high profile captures such as Lee Holmes from Southampton, experienced 'keeper Richard Wright from Ipswich Town along with former Shrewsbury Town duo Nicky Wroe (below centre) and Shane Cansdell-Sheriff who won promotion to League 1 with the Shrews last season.

Leaving Deepdale were the experienced Ian Ashbee and Nicky Hunt along with a number of younger players as Westley chose to wield the axe on his under-performing players.  Also leaving Preston was Neil Mellor due to injury; a player who, at League 1 level would get a team 15-20 goals a season.

So will it work? With League 1 looking a strong division once again with the likes of Coventry City, Sheffield United, Doncaster Rovers, Swindon and big-spending Bournemouth, Preston won't have it all their own way.  It will take time to gel the squad, it took Westley time to bring Stevenage, or Stevenage Borough as they were back then from a Conference outfit to a decent, if physical League 1 surprise package.

For me, it's all be thrown together a little bit too quickly.  A few pieces of Westley's jigsaw that are missing are clinical strikers; Charlton had Bradley Wright-Phillips and Yann Kermorgant to fire them towards the division's summit and the Addicks had other forward options by having the likes of Danny Haynes to call upon along with a number of midfielders who could come up with a few goals like Johnny Jackson for example.

They will have to get off to a good start.  Charlton themselves went on an unbeaten 13 game run at the beginning of their promotion winning campaign - halted away at a Stevenage side managed by Westley on the 15th October.

I wish Preston luck, it won't be easy for them.  Feel it is a bit of a financial gamble (especially with Peter Ridsdale involved up there) but for me, they will be a play off side.

WESTLEY: Aiming for promotion with the Lilywhites
Come On England!

Until next week...

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