I’m sure the final whistle at Dean Court was music to Graham Westley’s ears as he is now able to begin to shape the squad into his own side ready for August.
The words of Mr Westley over the past few weeks have been constantly referring to a summer clear out with a rumoured 14 new faces with just as many leaving the club. The Lilywhites fans will all be offering their suggestions of signings and who they believe should go as the manager draws up his shortlist and hands it to his chairman.
In my opinion, there are only four players for certain of the current 44 professionals at the club that have truly earned the right to wear the proud Preston jersey next season. The first would have to be newly crowned player of the year, Thorsten Stuckmann. The big German has kept 10 clean sheets out of his 24 games with a poor back line attempting to protect him which cannot be scoffed at despite the words of his manager this week. Westley stating in an interview that he would be bringing in a new goalkeeper to provide competition which has been received both ways by north end fans. His words of discouragement towards Stuckmann’s player of the year of the award did also not go down too well with the former Stevenage boss stating that ‘winning player of the year in a mediocre team is not much of an achievement’. But personally he would be the first name on my team sheet but I would definitely bring in a new keeper to provide competition for Thorsten.
The second would have to be captain Paul Coutts who has stepped up to the plate this season following an anonymous season last season. The Scot has caused controversy by handing in a transfer request but after settling in to Graham Westley’s regime he has become a key figure in the North End side with some all action performances and some excellent link up play with Danny Mayor. However, Coutts has been the subject of interest from Darren Ferguson’s Peterborough which could see him leave the club should a suitable offer be placed for the midfielder.
Thirdly, despite injury harboring his campaign this year, Iain Hume would be as good as a new signing should he stay at the club. Hume’s all action displays and his deadly right foot have made him a fan’s favourite since he joined the club initially on loan in November 2010. Despite making just over 20 appearances throughout the season, Hume has clocked up 9 league goals leaving him the club’s top scorer and should he be retained in time for next season he would better that tally if he could stay injury free.
Winger Danny Mayor has also made his claim for a place in Graham Westley’s squad for next season with some mesmerising performances towards the end of the season. His undoubted skill and trickery have been apparent since he made his debut in Darren Ferguson’s first league game in charge in January 2010 but it has only been since Westley’s arrival that his good work have become noticed with him picking up a number of assists. Danny has also picked up goal of the season for his brilliant solo strike against Hartlepool back in February and I’m sure that he will certainly begin to carry on his excellent performances in to next season.
Winger cum-emergency left back Paul Parry and ex-Liverpool Striker Neil Mellor are expected to depart with full back David Gray with the three out of contract in the summer. The rest will be a mystery as Westley’s revolution will begin to take place in the coming weeks after the man himself stated that he wanted his squad ready for mid May.
This certainly does spark excitement for fans with a significant amount of arrivals and departures taking place but it has to work for Westley as the time has come for the words to stop and the cheque book to open. Westley’s confidence in himself could prove to be the making of the club or his own downfall but one thing is for certain, there will be few if any survivors from yesterday’s poor performance at Bournemouth that will appear in the 16 man squad for the first game of next season.