Walsall monitoring Preston's Andy Boyle

Walsall are monitoring Preston centre-back Andy Boyle, the Express & Star understands.

But while the Republic of Ireland international is among the targets for Saddlers boss Jon Whitney, no deal has been agreed for the defender to move to the Banks’s Stadium.

Walsall are on the hunt for defensive reinforcements after loanees James Wilson and Shaun Donnellan both left the club earlier this month.

It means Jon Guthrie and Kory Roberts are the only senior centre-backs Whitney has at his disposal.

Boyle was reported to be on the verge of joining League One leaders Wigan on loan earlier this month.

But it’s now believed both Walsall and Rotherham have stepped ahead of the Latics to sign him on a temporary basis.

Snapped up from Dundalk in 2016, the 26-year-old won the League of Ireland Premier Division three times before his move to England. Boyle played for Preston in a behind closed doors game yesterday. But he has featured just five times for the first-team this season and only 10 times in total.

Meanwhile, boss Whitney says Liam Kinsella thoroughly deserves the new deal he signed last week.

The 21-year-old put pen to paper on an 18-month deal that will keep him at the club until at least June 2019.

“I’m very pleased he (Kinsella) signed,” Whitney said.

“It’s well known he’s been here since the age of eight.

“The way Liam has come back pre-season and the way he has been patient – his attitude in training is a credit to him.

“It doesn’t matter about his age, I think he is a role model to our younger players.

“He has shown the rewards patience and hard work can bring.

“He hasn’t cemented his place in the first-team but he has cemented his place in the first-team squad.

“That’s because his attitude is second to run. He is pushing Nicky Delvin and we have real competition for that right-back spot now.

“The credit for Liam getting a new contract goes to Liam himself. His mindset in the mornings to keep doing things right is a credit to him.”

Elsewhere, Charlton boss Karl Robinson has hailed Saddlers goalkeeper Liam Roberts as one of the best shot-stoppers in League One.

The 23-year-old has forced his way into Walsall’s first-team this season and recently put in impressive displays against both Oxford and Robinson’s Addicks.

“The keeper is one of the best keepers in the league I think,” the Charlton manager said.

“He had an unbelievable game last week against Oxford and also played very well against us.”

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