PNE back in the hunt for Oxford midfielder Ryan Ledson

There is a ‘high possibility’ of Preston landing long-term target Ryan Ledson in the near future after missing out on him in January.

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Oxford midfielder Ryan Ledson is on PNE's radar

Oxford midfielder Ryan Ledson is on PNE's radar

North End tried to sign the highly-rated midfielder from Oxford in the winter window but could not get The U’s to the negotiating table.

But headway appears to have been made in getting the 20-year-old to Deepdale this summer.

The fact that Ledson will not be involved for Oxford in their final game at Blackburn on Saturday, would suggest a deal is getting closer.

Asked about speculation linking the Lilywhites with Ledson, Oxford manager Karl Robinson said: “There’s a high possibility that could happen, but you can never 100% say it’s going to be the case.

“He won’t be involved at the weekend and if I’m being totally honest it’s a decision which has gone through the football club in the right way.

“We’ll have to wait and see – it wouldn’t surprise me if that’s got out.”

Ledson was high on North End’s wanted list in January as they looked to bolster their midfield options.

But with Oxford’s status in League One not secure at the time, they did not want to part with him.

Peter Ridsdale, advisor to Trevor Hemmings, and Alex Neil even travelled to The U’s Checkatrade Trophy clash at Charlton on January 9 in the hope of getting the ball rolling on negotiations.

After the window shut it was always PNE’s intention to go back and make another attempt.

Ledson was last Saturday voted player of the year and young player of the year by Oxford supporters.

He also won the club’s goal of the season award.

Merseyside-born Ledson began his career at Everton. He had joined the Toffees’ academy as a five-year-old and progressed right the way through to professional level.

His one first-team game for Everton came in the Europa League in December 2014 against FC Krasnodar.

He joined Cambridge on loan in the 2015/16 campaign and made 28 appearances.

In August 2016, Ledson cut his ties with Everton to join Oxford for an undisclosed fee.

The England Under-20s international has played 79 games for The U’s.

While PNE attempt to start their summer recruitment early, on the pitch all focus is on Sunday’s Deepdale clash with Burton Albion.

Victory over the Brewers and defeat for sixth-placed Derby against Barnsley, would see North End take the final play-off slot.

Ben Pearson’s fitness is being assessed ahead of the clash, a bout of cramp having seen him struggle through the final stages at Sheffield United last week.