Eoin Doyle’s strong run of goalscoring form for Oldham looks set to prompt something of a battle for his services in January with Scunthorpe already reported to have offered Preston around €350,000 for the 29-year-old striker.
Doyle, who has previously had spells at Shamrock Rovers, Sligo Rovers, Hibernian and Chesterfield, fell out of favour late last year at Deepdale after becoming embroiled in a fight with teammate Jermaine Beckford during a league game at Sheffield Wednesday.
It briefly seemed that Alex Neil’s arrival as manager during the summer might allow him a fresh start but by the end of August he was farmed out on loan to Oldham Athletic where he has since flourished, scoring 14 goals in 21 appearances for the League One outfit.
Oldham manager Richie Wellens is keen to keep the Irishman but the player's current loan arrangement is up in January and Scunthorpe have looked to take him on a permanent basis at that stage, a move that might well suit Preston now that they have bought Louis Moult from Motherwell.
The move would mean a likely push for promotion for Doyle and a possible link up with Paddy Madden who has featured regularly in the Scunthorpe side despite not having scored since the end of August.
There is, however, likely to be further interest in Doyle given his current form the fee involved may yet grow significantly with Preston potentially in a position to recoup the roughly €550,000 they paid for Moult.
Oldham, meanwhile, are waiting for Patrick McEleney to decide whether he wants to leave Dundalk for Boundary Park with Wellens acknowledging that he is keen to recruit the 25-year-old.
“Patrick is someone who can use both feet and take players on and can score goals,” says Wellens, “so we are trying to talk to him. We’ve spoken to his agent. I like him; he’s a really good footballer, the best footballer in the Republic of Ireland league.
"That's a league that is growing in stature and growing in terms of its standing. It's grown in the last four of five years and a lot of good players are coming from the Republic of Ireland. We've obviously got Jack Byrne (who scored twice in the recent win over 5-1 over Northampton) and Eoin Doyle, so they produce good players. I like the mentality of the players."
McEleney, who got 10 league goals for Dundalk last season – several of them spectacular – has also attracted interest from other English clubs with Blackburn Rovers and Doncaster Rovers but perhaps not quite at the level that he might have hoped for given how well regarded he is in Ireland.
Waterford United, meanwhile, have signed 26-year-old midfielder Gavan Holohan who spent last season at Galway United and previously played for Drogheda United and Cork City following a time in England with Hull. Derry City have signed 21-year-old forward Jamie McDonagh from Sligo Rovers with the former youth international having previously spent time in Scotland and at Sheffield United. Both players had brief loan spells at non-league English side Alfreton Town.