FORMER LEEDS UNITED marksman Jermaine Beckford has completed a permanent move to Simon Grayson’s Preston North End – signing a two-year deal.
The 31-year-old was a free agent after leaving Bolton Wanderers and was watched by United owner Massimo Cellino in North End’s recent League One play-off semi-final against Chesterfield.
Beckford subsequently fired Preston to promotion with a fabulous hat-trick in their 4-0 Wembley slaying of Swindon Town in the final, with the Londoner netting 18 goals in 31 appearances for the Deepdale outfit after arriving on loan.
But Leeds elected not to firm up their interest in their ex-striker, who hit 85 goals for United and memorably scored the goal which took them to promotion in a never-to-be-forgotten 2-1 win over Bristol Rovers at a packed Elland Road in May 2010 – his final game for the club before joining Premier League Everton.
Beckford also wrote his name in Leeds folklore by netting a famous winner in their 1-0 FA Cup victory at bitter foes Manchester United in January 2010.
Several other clubs expressed an interest in Beckford this close season and there was understood to have been some interest from MLS side New York City FC.
On making a full-time move to Preston, Beckford said: “The management are a big reason I have signed, we have a good understanding and relationship and it was a no brainer really.
“I had a great time last season and everybody here, the staff, players, have just been amazing with me and it’s somewhere that feels like home.
“My aim is to get as high up the league as possible, hopefully push for promotion but first and foremost it’s about making sure that we do things right, like we did last year.
“Last season was a great season for us and for me I just want to make sure that I give everything that I can give and do the best that I can do.”
Beckford will become a North End player after his contract expires with Bolton on June 30, 2015.
ormer Liverpool striker John Aldridge believes the signing of Burnley striker Danny Ings makes perfect sense.
The England Under-21 international, who is out of contract at the end of the month, has agreed a deal to join the Reds on July 1, subject to a medical.
As he is only 22, the Clarets are due compensation and Liverpool, having had one offer rejected, are trying to come to an amicable arrangement without the need for a tribunal to rule on a valuation.
Tottenham offered £12 million for the player last month and Aldridge said: “Danny Ings is, for me, a no-brainer. The young lad scored 11 goals for Burnley, a team struggling for points, struggling for goals – and he’s on the verge of breaking through to the England side.”