HITC Sport understands Preston are closing in on Exeter striker Jayden Stockley.

Jayden Stockley of Exeter City celebrates after scoring

Preston North End are leading the race to sign Exeter City hit-man Jayden Stockley after activating his buy-out clause, HITC Sport understands from sources close to the club.

Preston boss Alex Neil is keen to bolster his attacking options in the January transfer window with Callum Robinson still on the sidelines and he has identified a move for prolific forward Stockley.

Stockley is second top scorer in League Two this season with 15 goals in 27 appearances in all competitions for Exeter so far this term.

The 25-year-old is regarded as one of the best forwards in the lower leagues and a number of clubs, including Sunderland and Portsmouth have been credited with an interest in Stockley.

The former Aberdeen man is a traditional target man who can lead the line on his own up front and his form in front of goal has won him plenty of admirers.

Stockley is understood to have a £750,000 release clause in his contract at St James Park and Preston have now met that as they look to lure the player to Deepdale.

Losing Stockley would be a major blow to Exeter’s League Two promotion hopes, but Preston will be hoping the opportunity to play in the Championship will be too good to turn down for the striker.

Jayden Stockley: Scored 15 goals this season

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