Sources: Middlesbrough and Preston lead chase to sign Cambridge striker Mullin

Preston and Middlesbrough are leading the chase to sign Cambridge United goal machine Paul Mullin, Football Insider understands.

The striker, 26, is out of contract at the League Two outfit at the end of the month and will be a free agent.

A Cambridge source told Football Insider that they are trying to tie Mullin down to a new deal but his availability has opened the door to multiple Championship clubs led by Boro and Preston.

They have registered their interest in the Liverpool-born star following his goal-drenched 2020-21 campaign.

Mullin finished 13 goals clear at the top of the League Two goalscoring charts with 31 goals, netting 33 in all competitions.

He was top scorer in the country in the regular season and his 31-goal haul is a record for the division.

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It was by far the most productive campaign of Mullin’s career in front of goal.

He has spent five seasons in League Two – with Morecambe, Swindon Town, Tranmere Rovers and now Cambridge – but 2020-21 was the first time he has reached double figures.

Cambridge sealed automatic promotion from the fourth-tier on the final day of the season in May, Mullin scoring the third in a 3-0 victory over Grimsby Town.

Next season will be United’s first in League One in 17 years.

Such is his popularity at the Abbey, Cambridge renamed a stand after him in March, though it has now reverted to its original name.

After spending his formative years at Liverpool’s youth academy, Mullin signed his first professional terms with Huddersfield in 2013.

Neither Middlesbrough nor Preston had a player reach double figures for goals last term.

Duncan Watmore was Boro’s top goal-getter with nine, while Scott Sinclair scored the same number for PNE.

In other news, Middlesbrough lining up move for Luton Town terrace favourite.