Preston may well be in the market for another striker this summer, and a reported January target is on the move.

Gillingham hitman Tom Eaves hit 22 goals last season, again impressing in League One. In the 2017-18 season, Eaves hit 18 goals as he finally started realising his potential.

One touted for a bright future at Oldham, Eaves joined Bolton in 2009, but failed to make the grade. A series of loan moves reaped little success, and he struggled in a permanent move to Yeovil Town too.

At Gillingham though, Eaves has struck gold. 40 goals in two seasons is a superb return, and the 27-year-old will be attracting major interest. Those interested clubs will now be on red alert, as Eaves has today announced that he’s leaving Gillingham.

His contract officially ended on June 30th, but he’s now ruled out signing a new deal. Eaves will now field offers as a free agent, with a move to the Championship or Scotland likely.

In fact, back in December, Sky Sports reported that Preston were looking to land Eaves. At the time, North End needed a target man having failed to replace Jordan Hugill, and Eaves ticked some boxes.

Some may wonder whether North End will go back in, given that he’s now a free agent. However, the door seems to be closed on a Deepdale move, even if Preston may look for another goalscorer.

Gillingham’s Tom Eaves. (Photo by Kevin Barnes – CameraSport via Getty Images)

Rather than sign Eaves in January, North End pounced for Jayden Stockley – another big, physical target man. Stockley looks to be a decent addition, and will have that role locked down next season.

There’s therefore no need to bring in Eaves, even for free. Juggling two target men would only work if one of them has decent mobility, like Jordan Hugill, and Eaves sadly doesn’t fit that bill.

We may well see Eaves in action against Preston next season, but we’re not expecting him to be in a North End shirt any time soon as he looks for a new club.

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