PNE sign Sunderland keeper

Jordan Pickford in action for Bradford against PNE last season

Jordan Pickford in action for Bradford against PNE last season

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Preston North End have signed Sunderland goalkeeper Jordan Pickford on a season-long loan.

The 21-year-old will make his Lilywhites debut in Saturday’s friendly at Bury.

North End made their move for Pickford because they could not guarantee landing Sam Johnstone from Manchester United.

They had been hoping to bring Johnstone back to Deepdale on loan for the season after an impressive five-month stay last term.

But with United yet to resolve the futures of David de Gea and Victor Valdes, and with Johnstone impressing on the Red Devils’ United States tour, it is unlikely he would be available ahead of the start of the season.

Pickford arrived at Deepdale on Friday teatime to sign the loan deal after North End finalised terms with Sunderland earlier in the day.

The Wearside-born keeper has come through the Black Cats’ academy but he is yet to play in his first-team.

He has had loan spells at Darlington, Alferton, Burton, Carlisle and Bradford City - playing 33 league games for the Bantams last season before being recalled to the Stadium of Light.

Pickford has played at five different age levels for England and is tipped to be in the Under-21s this season.

PNE boss Simon Grayson said: “As soon as we got wind that Jordan was available then we decided to sign him.

“We knew we needed to make the decision very quickly because he’s a good, young, up and coming goalkeeper who has some good experience, he did very well at Bradford City last year and we feel he is going to fit well into the squad and have a really good season with us.”