When Preston North End cashed in on Jordan Hugill during the latter stages of the January transfer window in 2018, Lilywhites fans probably didn’t think they’d still be waiting for his replacement to walk through the door over three years later.
There have been many strikers who have appeared at Deepdale since he left for West Ham who have attempted to fill his boots, but no-one has been able to match his work rate and goalscoring abilities.
With North End lingering in mid-table halfway through the 2018-19 season, Alex Neil splashed out £750,000 on Exeter City target man Jayden Stockley, who had scored 16 goals in 25 League Two appearances that season.
PNE fans quickly came to the realisation that Stockley probably wasn’t going to be Hugill’s natural successor – he had a lot of aerial ability but a lack of mobility and despite playing 32 times in the Championship during the 2019-20 season, he was never really a regular starter under Alex Neil in his two years at Deepdale.
Stockley left the club for Charlton Athletic back in January on loan, before making that move permanent in the summer – but how’s he been doing at the Addicks?
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A lot of PNE fans were of the belief that stepping down a league with the London club would do Stockley the world of good and he would find his scoring boots – or more-so his scoring head.
He did exactly that in the second half of the 2020-21 campaign, scoring eight times in 22 appearances – all with his head – as Charlton narrowly missed out on League One’s play-off places after a solid end to the season.
Charlton’s start to the current campaign hasn’t been as fruitful, winning just one match out of their first five but on a personal level for Stockley it hasn’t been too bad.
Not only has the 27-year-old scored twice, he has been named vice-captain of the club and in the absence of defender Jason Pearce, Stockley has captained Charlton in all five of their league games so far.
Things are going well for the striker back down south, but he seemingly just wasn’t that great a fit for North End and in the end they cashed in on him with a year to go on his contract in a move that looks like it was best for all parties.