THERE was light at the end of the tunnel this week for David Moyes' beleaguered squad following a convincing 5-1 drubbing of Scottish Premier side Kilmarnock.

The first-string side, which included a number of trialists, have now returned from their Scottish training camp where they also faced Motherwell in a friendly on Tuesday afternoon (January 23) at Fir Park. Preston won that game 1-0.

Strikers Jon Macken (2), David Healy and Bjarki Gunnlaugsson got themselves on the score sheet against Kilmarnock, as did a mystery 'guest player'.

Canadian international Jason Bent and Scot Paul Bernard also figured in the Kilmarnock match.

While the break will help the players come back refreshed, it could see the team being forced to play matches in a very short space of time nearer the end of the season.

Since last week's sale of midfielder Michael Appleton, North End have been linked with possible bids for a number of players -- the latest being Gillingham frontman Carl Asaba and Bradford City's veteran winger Peter Beagrie. Asaba, the 6ft 2ins hitman, has been stalling over a new contract with the Gills and his favoured team, Crystal Palace, have ruled themselves out of swooping for the striker due to his excessive wage demands.

And with the well publicised clear-out of Bradford's first team, a number of meetings with Beagrie and PNE over the next few days is expected.

It has been reported that Preston scouts watched £1million-rated Portsmouth defender Darren Moore at the weekend -- despite boss Steve Claridge saying the defender is not for sale.

Hearts manager Craig Levein has said that Moyes has made an enquiry about full back Gary Locke. Bradford City have previously had a bid for the player turned down because Hearts lacked cover.

However, with Locke out of contract at the end of the season, Hearts may wish to cash in now on the player.