Preston have already signed four players this month, and another one is set to come in imminently.

North End have landed goalkeeper Connor Ripley, midfielder Brad Potts, winger Josh Ginnelly and striker Jayden Stockley.

Yet the biggest area of concern has been right back, where Darnell Fisher has slumped this season.

31-year-old centre back Tom Clarke isn’t a solution, and Calum Woods sadly isn’t of Championship standard anymore.

North End finally look set to rectify the problem by bringing in Rochdale’s Joe Rafferty.

The Sun’s Alan Nixon has tonight claimed on Twitter that he is now the top target.

We also believe that Rafferty has been at Deepdale this evening, and the deal could be announced on Wednesday.

Joe Rafferty of Rochdale (Photo by Simon Stacpoole/Offside/Getty Images)

Rafferty, 25, spent nine years on the books at Liverpool before making a 2012 move to Rochdale.

Rafferty has racked up more than 200 appearances for the Dale in his time at Spotland, scoring five goals.

A former Republic of Ireland youth international, Rafferty will join in a cut-price deal with his contract poised to expire this summer.

Rafferty will arrive to compete with Fisher at right back, with North End switching focus from Accrington’s Callum Johnson and even Sheffield United’s Kieron Freeman, with bids rejected for both.

We also understand that Calum Woods may leave the club once Rafferty’s deal is announced, with Bradford interested.

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