MIDDLESBROUGH have received a boost in their pursuit for a new goalkeeper as Preston North End all but concede defeat in their efforts to re-sign Daniel Iversen.

The Leciester City goalkeeper has been on loan at Deepdale for the last 18 months and has been a near ever present in the Lilywhites side making 71 appearances. He recently won their Player of the Year award for last season as Preston went on to finish 13th in the table.

Newcastle United goalkeeper Karl Darlow is understood to be a top target with his chances of playing regularly for the Magpies looking slim while Boro are said to be keeping close attention on Iversen as he makes his return to his parent club.

Having recently released their retained list, Boro have made signing a goalkeeper a top priority this summer with Luke Daniels and Joe Lumley being told they are free to pursue moves elsewhere.

The 24-year-old will face competition for places when he returns to the King Power Stadium with captain Kasper Schmeichel and Danny Ward both standing in his way to the first-team. Subsequently, Iversen may be forced to move elsewhere to find game time but Preston North End don’t think that will result in a return to Lancashire.

Owner Peter Risdale said: “We’ve got two or three very quality loan players who are going back which we have got to replace either with permanent positions or new loans.

“I think if we’re honest with each other, the odds of Daniel Iversen coming back I would have thought are slim.

“We’ve had him for 18 months, he’s done outstandingly well and my guess is he will either stay within the Leicester fold or look for a permanent move somewhere.”

Following Boro's seventh placed finish in the Championship, Chris Wilder is laying the groundwork for piecing together a squad capable of pushing for promotion this season.