Preston North End turn the spotlight on MLS in search for a striker

Preston North End’s striker search has extended to the United States.

By Dave Seddon
Monday, 28th September 2020, 8:00 am

It is understood that the Lilywhites are eyeing an American player in the MLS as part of their attempts to give their forward line a boost.

If they want to deal for a target from another country, PNE have until next Monday’s transfer deadline to do so.

Beyond that there is a domestic window until October 16 where EFL clubs can continue to trade with one another and bring in players from the Premier League.

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Preston striker Sean Maguire makes his point to referee Matt Donohue during the defeat to Stoke

North End have looked abroad more this window than they had previously done.

They tried to do a deal to bring in AZ Alkmaar’s Fredy Druijf on a season-long loan in August but the striker signed a new contract with the Dutch outfit.

There remain targets in the domestic market but PNE have found it a struggle.

In terms of anything on the outgoing front, there continues to be lots of talk in Scotland over Rangers trying to land Daniel Johnson.

Despite claims in the media of a £2m bid having been made, Deepdale sources say the only official contact from Rangers remains the £1.5m offer – to be paid in four stages – which was put in three weeks ago. If Rangers really want the midfielder they have a week to do it.

In terms of extra firepower, North End really do need to give the front ine some help.

They started their only two available strikers Jayden Stockley and Sean Maguire in the 1-0 home defeat to Stoke.

Tom Barkhuizen, who has been switched up front for certain games, is currently facing a three-match ban after being sent off on Saturday.

He played as a wing-back against the Potters and saw red in the 22nd minute for a sliding tackle on Morgan Fox. North End will lodge a video appeal to the FA by today’s 12pm deadline.

Replays show Barkhuizen losing his footing as he chases towards the ball with Fox, the momentum seeing him slide into the Stoke defender.

PNE boss Alex Neil said: “At the time I didn’t realise Tom had slipped as he was running in the opposite direction.

“So I didn’t make many remonstrations about it being a red as I wasn’t sure.

“Two minutes after it, our analysts radioed down to say it shouldn’t have been a red card. I’ve watched it back and I fully agree with them.”

Neil hopes Barkhuizen will be cleared by the FA of dangerous play.

He said: “You can quickly establish if someone went in with intent of hurting someone, going over the ball and being a bit naughty.

“You can quickly establish when someone loses their footing and has been quite unfortunate. We will see what happens.”