It’s been some time since Preston North End possessed a striker who could get anywhere near 20 goals in a Championship season.
Perhaps Callum Robinson was the closest of late, with injuries restricting him to 12 goals from 27 league games in his last season with the club.
The strikers currently at the club have frustrated fans for different reasons. Jayden Stockley was brought in in January 2019 and at the time was on fire for Exeter City in League Two. Despite one or two starring performances for North End he hasn’t established himself at the club, so it wasn’t a surprise to see him move on loan to Charlton Athletic.
He found his feet with The Addicks, leading the line for them as they just missed out on a play-off place. He scored eight goals in his 22 league games and he started all but two of them.
Now I know it’s not exactly prolific and it is the league below, but with the majority of these goals being headers it does make you wonder whether Preston were using him correctly.
Charlton often played him as part of a front two with Conor Washington; something Frankie McAvoy has incorporated since he took over. Now he has the job permanently he may be interested in trying out Jayden as part of a front two as well.
Whilst Stockley might have fallen out of favour with Alex Neil, McAvoy has already shown he has a different line of thinking. Who knows, he may be a big fan of Stockley.
Ched Evans has been his main striker thus far but his partner has been altered from game to game. Perhaps a pacey player like Tom Barkhuizen or Scott Sinclair works best but Evans and Stockley up front would be a real handful for any defence. Balls would need to be whipped in to them on a regular basis though – something that hasn’t really been done before when Stockley has played.
Stockley scored the most goals in England in 2018 and also the most headed goals in Europe that year. Yet until now, Stockley has only really been used to hold the ball up and make some flick ons. It was rare to see a cross in from the byline for him to try and head in.
It remains to be seen what McAvoy’s transfer plans over the summer will be and if he’ll have much of a budget to play with. Stockley won’t be short of offers if Preston do look to sell.
When David Nugent and, as expected , Louis Moult move on the strikers at the club will consist of Sean Maguire, Emil Riis, Ched Evans and Jayden Stockley. The latter could generate a decent transfer fee and McAvoy will probably look to put it towards another striker to provide a different option for the squad, but there’s an argument for giving Stockley another go.