Preston needed a first-choice striker over the summer – and didn’t manage to do it.

Already, that inability to sign a striker has been laid bare. Louis Moult is out for the season, Seani Maguire is better on the left flank and is out now too. David Nugent is still working his way back to fitness, and Jayden Stockley isn’t in favour right now.

That has resulted in Tom Barkhuizen and Billy Bodin filling in as makeshift strikers, which is far from ideal. A centre forward is surely the priority target for January, with Preston having months to find a solution.

One player linked over the summer was Keinan Davis. The Aston Villa striker struggled to break into Dean Smith’s side last season, and their promotion looked to make life even more difficult.

Eddie Nolan of Crewe Alexandra battles for possession with Keinan Davis of Aston Villa. (Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images)

Pete O’Rourke then claimed before the transfer deadline that North End made a loan move for Davis. However, Villa allegedly rejected Preston’s move, with a host of other clubs also snubbed.

The 21-year-old has now made a couple of substitute appearances in the Premier League, currently serving as Wesley’s main cover. In midweek, Davis scored in a 6-1 Carabao Cup win over Crewe Alexandra.

Davis has now told the Daily Mail that he considered leaving the club on loan, but boss Smith told him to stay. Smith seemingly felt that he would play a part in the Premier League, and that was enough for the young striker to stay put.

Davis fits the bill as the type of centre forward North End need, possessing the power of a target man but also enough pace to ensure Alex Neil’s side wouldn’t be one-dimensional.

North End may be wise to keep tabs on Davis’s situation over the coming months as a result, but given his comments and his recent Premier League appearances, this ship may have sailed.

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