Leeds United: Whites eyeing up move for Preston North End goalkeeper

Photo:IANROBINSON'Andrew Lonergan during the Preston North End v Everton pre-season friendly match at Deepdale
Photo:IANROBINSON'Andrew Lonergan during the Preston North End v Everton pre-season friendly match at Deepdale
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LEEDS United are being strongly linked with a move for Preston North End custodian Andrew Lonergan – to fill their vacant no.1 goalkeeping berth.

The Whites are understood to have enquired about the availability of the 27-year-old and according to sources in the north-west, a move across the Pennines for Lonergan could happen shortly.

Preston are seeking a fee for Lonergan, who has a couple of years left on his Deepdale deal and is thought to be one of the highest earners at the club with boss Phil Brown keen to trim the wage bill following relegation to League One.

Brown wants to bring former loan keeper and free agent Iain Turner – who made 17 appearances for the club last term – back to Preston, although any move is thought to depend on selling Lonergan first.

Ex-England Under-21 stopper Lonergan – who made his North End debut aged just 16 and started 29 Championship games in 2010-11 – has also attracted interest from Wolverhampton Wanderers and Coventry City.

He has played over 200 league games for the Lilywhites.

United, who have already brought in Paul Rachubka on a free transfer, have targeted bringing in a first-choice keeper as a priority area following the sale of last season’s no.1 Kasper Schmeichel to Leicester City.

They have already been linked with several players, including ex-Liverpool Champions League winner Jerzy Dudek, along with highly-rated Huddersfield Town keeper Alex Smithies and Burnley’s Lee Grant.

Meanwhile, reports that Swansea City could be lining up a £3m move for talisman United centre-forward Luciano Becchio appear wide of the mark.

The Swans – who shelved out a club record £3.5m to land Watford’s prolific striker Danny Graham earlier this summer – are thought to have alternative targets, with the Premiership newboys leading the race to sign Barcelona B frontman Jonathan Soriano and also interested in bringing in Middlesbrough duo Marvin Emnes and Leroy Lita.

Ipswich Town are understood to be closing in on a move for former Whites midfielder and free agent Lee Bowyer, who has been linked with a possible return to Elland Road.

The 34-year-old – released by Birmingham City following their relegation from the top-flight – is being courted by several Championship clubs.

But Ipswich are firmly in the box seat and are in advanced discussions to sign the Londoner, who has held extremely positive talks with Tractor Boys boss Paul Jewell and could put pen to paper on a deal this week, having just returned from holiday.

Nottingham Forest have also been linked with Bowyer, along with Premiership newcomers Queens Park Rangers.

Centre-half Patrick Kisnorbo – subject of interest from Championship rivals Brighton and Crystal Palace – returned to pre-season training with United yesterday at Thorp Arch as he bids to prove his fitness to earn a longer-term deal after 13 months out with a ruptured Achilles tendon.

Honduran international Ramon Nunez has also returned to pre-season training after beng given a couple of days extra rest following international commitments.

On Kisnorbo, boss Simon Grayson said: “It’s good to see Paddy working with the lads after doing his rehab.

“He’s had a tough time, but he’s looking to come through pre-season unscathed and get into the games with us now.”

United have added another pre-season friendly to their schedule and will head across the North Sea to face Norweigan second-tier side Sandefjord on Tuesday, July 26, kick-off 7pm.