Aston Villa are aiming to trump Sunderland for Preston North End striker David Nugent.

The Sun says Villa have also been given permission by Preston to speak to their £6million-rated star.

Nugent, 22, has made it clear he wants a move to the Premiership after North End missed out on promotion last season.

He is due for talks with Black Cats boss Keane this weekend but now Villa chief O'Neill has officially joined the race.

O'Neill wants burly Nugent to partner 6ft 4in John Carew in bulldozing through Premiership defences next season.