Stoke City boss Tony Pulis is quietly confident of winning the transfer battle for Preston North End midfielder Adam Barton.

The Daily Mail says Liverpool watched him extensively with Sammy Lee at several Preston games and Blackburn, Wigan, Everton and West Bromwich have all monitored his progress.

However, Stoke City manager Pulis is also known to be a big admirer and has a track record of developing players from lower leagues.

He will be aware that Phil Brown will have to re-shape his squad and will need to generate funds to attract the type of experienced players he would like to guide Preston out of League One at the first attempt.

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