BURNLEY have stepped up their interest in Preston winger Keith Treacy, following a “casual enquiry” last week.
North End chairman Maurice Lindsay revealed last week that: “We had a casual enquiry from Burnley about Keith.
“It was a lightweight enquiry really, asking about his situation.”
However, I understand Eddie Howe’s interest in the Republic of Ireland wideman is more substantial than “a lightweight enquiry” would suggest, with the 22-year-old a player he has been impressed with since becoming a Championship regular following his February 2010 move to Deepdale from neighbours Blackburn Rovers.
It is no secret Howe is keen to bolster his options on the left flank, with, ironically, Ross Wallace - a summer capture from North End last year - his only naturally left-footed outlet.
Howe has used Chris Eagles, Jay Rodriguez, Wade Elliott and loan man Nathan Delfouneso on that side, but as inverted widemen, and he said: “In terms of the squad, we have identified the areas we feel we need to strengthen, and hopefully we will be able to do that in the coming days and weeks.”
But Treacy wouldn’t be allowed to leave North End on the cheap.
As Lindsay said: “As I’ve said before, we won’t let players leave this club unless it suits us.”
The Lilywhites are believed to want in excess of £750,000 for a player who joined for an undisclosed fee, believed to be a fraction of their current asking price, but the player is thought to be keen to stay in the Championship, and there is likely to be competition for his signature. Treacy has admitted he wants to play at a higher level than League 1 after Preston’s relegation, and Ipswich and Nottingham Forest have also been linked with a move for a player who has also spent time on loan at Sheffield United in the first half of last season.
Treacy has discussed his future with manager Phil Brown, and said: “We had a meeting and he’s just put a price on my head and said, ‘if it gets met, all well and good, we won’t hold you back’.
“We’ll have to wait and see now if a club is interested or what’s going to happen but I’m hopeful, yeah, because I want to play at the highest level I possibly can.
“I feel maybe the Championship or the Premiership at a push would be ideal for me.
“I think I’m a little bit better than League One if I’m being honest.”
But Lindsay added: “We will only be letting players go if it suits us.
“I would be totally against Keith Treacy leaving, he is such an exciting player on the ball and can be a prolific goalscorer from the wing when he’s on form.”
Treacy scored seven goals over the campaign, including one to put Preston 2-1 up at Turf Moor in September, before going on to lose 4-3.