Preston North End in Numbers: New striker Jayden Stockley has better goal return than Mo Salah

PNE's new striker Jayden Stockley celebrates a goal for Exeter
PNE's new striker Jayden Stockley celebrates a goal for Exeter

More goals than Mo Salah in 2018. It was certainly a nice tagline for Preston North End when they announced the arrival of their new striker on Thursday.

Jayden Stockley is the man in question, the frontman coming from more humble surroundings and for considerably less expenditure than Liverpool’s Egyptian star.

A fee believed to be around £750,000 was spent on a player who scored 29 goals in the calendar year, the most in the top four leagues in England.

Salah was next on 28 with a certain Harry Kane on 25.

Arsenal’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Gillingham’s Tom Eaves both found the back of the net 23 times with Lewis Grabban, who played for Sunderland, Aston Villa and Nottingham Forest in those 12 months and Brentford’s’ Neal Maupay on 22.

It may be League Two for Stockley but it’s still an impressive goal return for a player who has always known where the back of the net is.

Also in 2018, he had the most headed goals of anyone in Europe’s top leagues.

As for his time with the Grecians, Stockley had a successful loan spell towards the end of the 2015-16 season before joining permanently on deadline day in August 2017 after a season north of the border with Aberdeen.

In total, his move to PNE saw him leave Devon with 51 goals in 98 appearances for Exeter.

This season alone, he has scored 16 goals in 28 appearances, leaving with five in his last three games, a run started with hat-trick in a 3-2 win over Oldham on December 22.

He had been on target 25 times in 48 appearances in the previous season, having scored 10 times in 22 games during his loan spell at St James Park.

Even during a season at Aberdeen where game-time was more limited, he scored six goals in 38 appearances, some 25 of those coming from the bench.

It was, however, a campaign that included three red cards, his only other career sending off coming when on loan at Torquay back in 2014.

Back to the goals, the hope is that the Bournemouth academy product can take that kind of form in front up to the Championship.

He arrives at a time when Lukas Nmecha has got himself off the mark at the 23rd time of asking with two goals in two games, with Sean Maguire and Louis Moult also to return from injury sooner rather than later.

A healthy North End frontline doesn’t look to bad at all, especially given how stretched Alex Neil’s resources have been.