PORTLAND, Ore. – The Portland Timbers third international exhibition opponent, Preston North End, began preparation for the 2007-08 Coca-Cola League Championship season last week with the start of preseason camp. Preston’s preseason schedule includes a trip to the U.S. to play the Timbers on July 28 at PGE Park.
While the Lilly Whites continue the saga with star English U-21 striker David Nugent, they have continued to sign key players during the preseason, including American midfielder Greg Dalby.
Preston opened its preseason camp last Thursday at Springfields with 27 players as they look to improve upon a successful 2006-07 season which saw them miss a chance at promotion to the English Premier League (EPL) by one point.
Nugent, who was Preston’s leading scorer last season with 15 goals, was expected to arrive in camp today after competing with England’s U-21 squad in the 2007 European Championships. However, Nugent, who has expressed for weeks his interest in playing for an EPL club, was granted permission to talk to Portsmouth F.C. and did not report.
Among the new players signed by Preston is American midfielder Greg Dalby. An all-America at the University of Notre Dame, Dalby captained the U.S. U-20 squad in the 2005 FIFA World Youth Championships. While Dalby, 21, hasn’t played the required number of games at the full international level, it is hoped that he will receive international clearance under the “exceptional talent” ruling and report sometime this week.
Preston begins its preseason schedule Friday as they face Bamber Bridge. The Lilly White’s preseason schedule includes a tour to the U.S. to play matches against the Timbers on July 28, the Seattle Sounders and Mexico’s Monterrey in Sacramento, Calif.