By David Woods

23rd Aug, 2017 | 6:21am

Exclusive: Leeds join race for in-demand striker after bids turned down (not Gestede)

EXCLUSIVE by Pete O’Rourke

Leeds and Reading have joined the chase for Preston North End striker Jordan Hugill, Football Insider sources understand.

Hugill is regarded as one of the best young forwards in the Championship after catching the eye for Preston last season.

The 24-year-old has impressed at Preston since joining from Port Vale in 2014 after starting his career in non-league football.

Hugill finished as their top scorer this season with 13 goals in 47 appearances in all competitions and he has scored three goals in five games already this term.

He is in-demand, too. Birmingham City have been leading the chase for Hugill this summer and have seen a couple of bids for the striker turned down by Preston.

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Sunderland are also keen on Hugill with Black Cats boss Simon Grayson keen to be reunited with the striker having bought him when he was in charge of Preston.

Leeds have now expressed an interest in Hugill as they see the powerful forward as an ideal replacement for Chris Wood following his move to Burnley.

Leeds have money to spend from Wood’s £15million sale and they could be ready to test Preston’s resolve to keep hold of Hugill before the close of the transfer window.

Reading are also in the market for striking reinforcements as Jaap Stam looks to mount another bid for promotion this season and Hugill enhanced his reputation with Stam by scoring the winner against the Royals last weekend.

Preston are determined to keep hold of their star striker, but are bracing themselves for further bids for his services before next week’s transfer deadline.

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