CHAMPIONSHIP club Preston North End are keen to sign Accrington Stanley defender Callum Johnson.

Alex Neil's side are understood to have made a bid for the 22-year-old, believed to be in excess of £300,000, but Stanley turned it down.

North End may return with a higher offer for the youngster and it is understood any deal would include a sell-on fee for Stanley. It remains unclear whether Middlesbrough included a sell-on in the deal which took Johnson to the Wham Stadium permanently last January.

Johnson could be the second Stanley player to head to North End with Preston close to confirming the signing of goalkeeper Connor Ripley, who is currently on loan with the Reds, on a permanent deal from Middlesbrough.

But Accrington are under no pressure to sell Johnson who is contracted at the club until next summer.

It is understood that other Championship clubs are monitoring the former Middlesbrough man who did not feature in the midweek Checkatrade Trophy defeat to Bury with Accrington chief John Coleman saying after the game that Johnson was injured.

The full back, who first joined Stanley on loan from Boro in August 2017 before making the move permanent last January, is understood to have a slight groin problem.

He has been a regular at right back for the Reds, making more than 50 appearances for the club including 28 this term.