Preston boss keen to keep goal ace Mellor

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PRESTON North End manager Phil Brown insists he has no desire to sell Neil Mellor this summer.

Indeed, the Lilywhites chief has quashed reports linking the striker with a return to Sheffield Wednesday and is optimistic Mellor will spearhead their promotion bid in League One.

Mellor resumed training at Deepdale on Monday and Brown said the 28-year-old striker looked in ‘fabulous condition’.

Brown says he has spoken to Mellor about his long-term future and believes he has a major role to play in Preston’s quest to bounce back into the Championship at the first time of asking.

“I’m looking forward to seeing what Neil brings – he’s a goalscorer and they are rare breeds,” he said. “Sometimes they are misunderstood.

“Hopefully he’ll give me at least another year here and score plenty of goals.”

Owls chairman Milan Mandaric and vice-chairman Paul Aldridge have been in talks with Mellor’s representatives in recent weeks.

Mandaric has not given up hope of re-signing Mellor, who bagged 20 goals in all competitions in a season long loan spell last year, on a permanent basis. Wednesday came close to capturing Mellor earlier this month but a deal collapsed at the final hurdle, as personal terms could not be agreed.

But former Hull City boss Brown is eager to retain the forward’s services and added: “If you’ve got a player who’s going to score you 20 to 25 goals in one season it’s a good start for me.

“I spoke with Neil after the season finished and he believed there was a Championship club coming in for him - he wanted to play Championship football but now he’s very positive about giving Preston a full season.”