Striker on the way for PNE

Keeping tabs: A deal could still be done for Simonsen
Keeping tabs: A deal could still be done for Simonsen
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Graham Westley is confident his Preston North End squad will have one new striker at least by the time the new League One campaign kicks off on Saturday.

Despite bringing in Chris Beardsley from his old club Stevenage and Jack King from non-league football, Westley is still on the lookout for more attacking options.

The club have had an offer for Wycombe Wanderers 28-year-old centre-forward Stuart Beavon rejected, while Westley continues to monitor ex-Charlton and Hibernian man Akpo Sodje on trial.

Westley refused to say whether the club would be going back in with an improved offer for Beavon, but did say there were a number of lines of enquiry.

“It’s no secret we’ve had a bid in for Beavon,” Westley said.

“But there’s other work that we are doing, so I’m sure that there will be some new additions to strengthen the front end of our team in the next few days.”

One player who Westley would like to sign is former Everton and Stoke City goalkeeper Steve Simonsen, who has been training with the club over the past few days.

Preston, who kick-off the new league season at home to Colchester United, have been without someone to compete with Thorsten Stuckmann for the No.1 jersey since Richard Wright asked for his contract to be terminated due to family reasons, after initially signing on a one-year deal.

Since then, Westley has looked at a number of trialists between the sticks, including ex-Aston Villa man Peter Enckelman and ex-Port Vale keeper Stuart Tomlinson.

The club also held preliminary discussions with Portuguese star José Moreira after he featured in a number of pre-season friendlies for PNE.

However, a they were unable to reach a deal and Westley has now turned his attentions to Simonsen, who has spent the past two seasons with fellow League One club Sheffield United, where he has made more than 60 appearances.

Westley said: “Steve Simonsen has been at the club and we’ve had conversations with him.

“We are hopeful that he will join us but nothing is concluded and until it is, it just remains a prospective piece of work.”

Meanwhile, Westley revealed the exit door is inching ever closer for the five players – Danny Mayor, Jamie Proctor, Iain Hume, Craig Morgan and Keammar Daley – left at the club who are deemed surplus to requirements.

Mayor and Proctor have spent time training with Blackpool and are believed to have played 70 minutes in a behind-closed-doors friendly for the Tangerines against Newcastle at the weekend.

“There’s a good chance that those two will move on in the next few days,” Westley said.

“There’s a couple of bits of interest in them and we’re hopeful that all five of the lads who are aiming to leave the club will be gone sooner rather than later.

“It’s in their best interests and our club’s best interests that they leave as soon as possible.”

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