£7.5m former Preston and Everton striker hands Leicester timely promotion boost ahead of Middlesbrough game

PNE were desperate to sign former Everton forward Tom Cannon in the summer

Former Preston striker Tom CannonFormer Preston striker Tom Cannon
Former Preston striker Tom Cannon

Former Preston goal hero and summer target Tom Cannon is closing in on his long-awaited Leicester debut.

The 20-year-old, who bagged eight goals in 20 Championship loan appearances for the Lilywhites last season, is yet to feature for the Foxes since his reported £7.5m move to the King Power Stadium on transfer deadline day.

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A stress fracture in his back has prevented the Republic of Ireland under-21 international from lining up for his new club. But that could all change on Saturday and for the table-toppers’ trip to Middlesbrough, who Preston travel to on November 28.

Leicester boss Enzo Maresca told the Foxes’ official website: ‘The last time, he had two sessions (ahead of) the last game (against Leeds). Now he’s with us, so he could be in the squad tomorrow. He’s back. He had more or less one week with us.

'After two months, it’s a long time. Day by day, he’s getting fit. He could be with us tomorrow but not for 90 minutes.’

During the summer, Preston thought they had a deal in place to retain Cannon’s services following his Deepdale impact over the second half of last season. Yet a ‘change in the goalposts’ meant manager Ryan Lowe had to turn his attentions elsewhere, leading to North End swooping for Liam Millar and Milutin Osmajic on deadline day.

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Leicester have been coping just fine without Cannon as they sit top of the table with a three-point advantage over second-placed Ipswich. The Foxes head to the Riverdside tomorrow, however, on the back of a 1-0 home defeat to Leeds.

Sixth-placed Preston can close the gap on Maresca’s side to 11 points and retain their place in the play-off positions with victory over Lancashire rivals Blackburn at Ewood Park tonight.

Following their deadline day moves, Millar (one) and Osmajic (three) have four Championship goals between them.