Simon Grayson insists that Preston North End’s new professionals will all get the chance to play first-team football at some stage this season.
Midfielder Ryan Croasdale, defender Ben Davies and goalkeeper Steven James signed professional deals at Deepdale over the summer after coming through the club’s Apprenticeship programme.
The trio have already made an impression on Grayson after one week of pre-season training and look settled in a first-team environment.
Speaking to the Lancashire Evening Post Grayson said: “The three lads have trained and fitted in really well with the first-team squad since we came back.”
“It will be part of their development to play some first-team football this season, whether that be for us or somewhere else.”
“There is nothing worse for a player that having reached the level of training with the first-team, they then stand still. They have to kick-on from this stage and ultimately they have to try and push on into our first-team.”
“If they have other people in front of them, we will look to loan them out. I do feel Ryan and Ben especially are capable of playing league football. All three lads got their professional contracts because they earned them. We don’t hand out contracts for the sake of it because we don’t have the luxury of a development squad.”
“I do think they are good players and have potential to be good players for this club in the long term. I don’t care how old they are – if they are good enough they will get into the team, regardless of whether they are keeping more experienced players out.”
“If they perform well over pre-season, they have got a chance of starting the season.”
Croasdale and Davies are expected to feature during this Saturday’s glamour friendly against Liverpool at Deepdale.
Ticket sales for the match are approaching the 16,000 mark, with the visitors having sold out their allocation in the Bill Shankly stand.
The sides will contest the Shankly Shield, this being the 100th anniversary year of Bill Shankly’s birth.