Several clubs moved for the 25-year-old at the start of the January transfer window but it is the Lilywhites who have got their man, his arrival following quickly after that of Josh Ginnelly.
Below we take a closer look at the prolific striker.
He was a man in demand
A host of clubs were in hot pursuit of Stockley whose form in front of goal made him a wanted man as soon as the window opened. It was PNE who won the race though, beating off the competition. According to reports, Paul Tidsdale wanted to take his former player to MK Dons while former loan club Portsmouth were offering him the chance to step up to League One and stay relatively close to home. Last night it emerged Wigan had also tried to get in on the act but it is with North End that he has signed a three-year deal.
Former Bournemouth man knows where the back of the net is
It is League Two, yes, but Stockley’s goal record is impressive. He enjoyed a fruitful loan spell at Exeter in the second half of the 2015-2016 season before joining permanently on deadline day in August 2017 after a year at Aberdeen. In total he scored 51 goals in 98 appearances for the Grecians and became a firm favourite. In 2018 he was the top goalscorer in England’s top four divisions, his 29 one more than Liverpool’s Mo Salah in the calendar year.
Striker will fill a much-needed spot in the squad
Just under 12 months on from Jordan Hugill’s departure PNE have a target man. It is an option North End have been crying out for, something Alex Neil has made no secret of. At 6’3” and with more headed goals in the last 12 months than any player in the top European leagues, Stockley’s attributes are clear. There is more to his game than just that but he gives PNE a different dimension that they have certainly been lacking since Hugill moved to West Ham in a club record sale last January. With Sean Maguire, Louis Moult and Lukas Nmecha all bringing different options, an injury-free frontline looks healthy for Neil.
Stockley continues PNE’s buying pattern
The striker is another from the lower leagues tasked with making the step up to the Championship at Deepdale. The 25-year-old is the second arrival in recent months from Exeter and North End fans will be hoping he makes the jump up two divisions look as easy as Jordan Storey has when Neil has turned to the prospect in the heart of his defence. He also follows hot on the heels of Josh Ginnelly who will be hoping to develop under the PNE boss having been playing in the National League as recently as May. This is the way North End have to recruit but Stockley’s goal record means he is one who certainly excites.
Many backed him to make a breakthrough with Eddie Howe
Stockley came through the ranks at Bournemouth where he was seen as a top prospect by Eddie Howe. The Poole-born striker was first called into the Cherries squad as a 15-year-old, his school needing to allow him to be involved with the first team back in 2009. His debut came aged just 16 years and 21 days, the striker already 6’2” at that stage. Stockley was so highly rated that he signed a five-year contract in 2009 but with opportunities limited as Bournemouth rose through the leagues he left in 2016 after numerous loan spells having made just a handful of first-team appearances.