Preston sign Hartlepool striker Connor Simpson
Preston North End have signed Hartlepool United's teenage striker Connor Simpson.
Simpson is seen as one for the future by North End, the 17-year-old only having broken into the Pools first-team squad at the end of last season.
He has made two starts and five substitute appearances for the National League outfit this term, scoring once.
The 6ft 5in front man becomes PNE's third signing of the January transfer window following on from Louis Moult and Billy Bodin.
North End have paid an undisclosed fee for Simpson, money which will be welcomed by Pools who have serious financial issues - they have to raise Â£200,000 in the next fortnight to meet a tax bill and pay wages.
Simpson has signed a two-and-a-half year professional contract at Deepdale which runs until the summer of 2020.
PNE boss Alex Neil said: "He's certainly one for the future, I think he's got outstanding qualities with his size and his stature and the fact that he's played men's football at such a young age.
"I don't think there's too many of those types about and I think the last time we went and got somebody in a similar situation it was probably Jordan Hugill when we took him from Port Vale and look what happened there.
"So all the signs are good, he's one we will take a bit of time with and develop but I think all the indicators are that there is certainly something to work with and we are hoping to try and make him better."
Guisborough-born Simpson will wear the No.27 shirt at PNE, the same number he had at Hartlepool.
The teenager said: "This a very good club to come to, it has a lot of history behind it and I am really excited to get started.
"The training is going to be a lot more intense, everything is going to be a lot tougher but I am ready for the challenge."