Preston North End distance themselves from transfer link with 25-goal League One striker

Preston North End don’t have Morecambe striker Cole Stockton on their list on summer targets.

By Dave Seddon
Tuesday, 12th April 2022, 12:30 pm

The Lilywhites were one of five clubs linked in a media report over the weekend with the 28-year-old who has been banging in the goals in League One.

Peterborough, Portsmouth, Rotherham and Wycombe were the other sides credited with an interest.

Stockton has scored 28 goals in all competitions for the Shrimps this campaign, including one against PNE in the Carabao Cup last August.

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Morecambe striker Cole Stockton of Morecambe is challenged by Tottenham defender Joe Rodon in the FA Cup clash at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. Pic: Getty Images

Last season, he found the net 15 times in their League Two promotion push.

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A striker scoring regularly in League One is bound to attract attention and Morecambe will hope for more goals from Stockton as they fight against relegation – Derek Adams’ men are one place outside the bottom four on goal difference.

The step from League One to the Championship is a big one though, with Stockton turning 29 in May.

North End sources have distanced themselves from the speculation, Portsmouth having also denied the link with the striker.

It will be a busy summer at Deepdale in terms of recruitment and players moving on.

There are around a dozen players who will be out of contract at the end of June including Scott Sinclair, Joe Rafferty, Connor Ripley, Paul Huntington and Tom Barkhuizen from the 25-man squad registered with the EFL.

Bambo Diaby is another, the centre-half having signed a short-term deal in January.

There are four loan players in the PNE squad too, Cameron Archer, Daniel Iversen, Sepp van den Berg and Josh Murphy.

Archer, Iversen and Van den Berg are three who they would love to have back but that will hinge with what their parent clubs want to do and what the players feel their best next step is.

In terms of incomings, North End manager Ryan Lowe knows which positions he wants to strengthen and is planning for the 2022/23 campaign is well underway.

He brought on board MRKT Insights last month, a football consultancy firm which provides data on players to help with recruitment.

Lowe worked successfully with them at his previous club Plymouth Argyle and was keen to continue the relationship at North End.

Wing-backs, strikers and goalkeepers will be at the top of the wanted list this summer as Lowe shapes the squad to his liking.