In the present paper, we report on the selection of two sets of candidate introgression lines (pre-ILs) in spring barley. Two BC2DH populations, S42 and T42, were generated by introgressing an accession of Hordeum vulgare ssp. spontaneum (ISR42-8, from Israel) into two different spring barley cultivars, Scarlett (S) and Thuringia (T). From these BC2DH populations two sets with 49 (S42) and 43 (T42) pre-ILs were selected, and their genomic architecture as revealed by SSR marker analysis was characterised. The selected pre-ILs cover at least 98.1% (S42) and 93.0% (T42) of the exotic genome in overlapping introgressions and contain on average 2 (S42) and 1.5 (T42) additional non-target introgressions. In order to illustrate a potential application and validation of these pre-ILs, the phenotypic effect of the exotic introgression at the locus of the major photoperiod response gene Ppd-H1 was analysed. Pre-ILs carrying the introgression at the Ppd-H1 locus flowered significantly earlier than the elite parents, and the introgression maintained its effect across the two genetic backgrounds and across four tested environments. The selected pre-ILs represent a first promising step towards the assessment and utilization of genetic variation present in exotic barley. They may promote the breeding progress, serve for the verification of QTL effects and provide a valuable resource for the unravelling of gene function, e.g. by expression profiling or map-based cloning.