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Preston strongly linked with appointing manager of relegation contenders

Preston North End are being strongly linked with appointing a manager of club who are relegation contenders in the Championship table.

Various reports over the weekend claim that the Lilywhites might have to pause their managerial search until the summer.

Preston recently sacked Alex Neil following yet another season where their hopes of at least getting into the playoff places failed.

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The first few games of the 2020/21 season saw them just above the relegation zone, before climbing and staying in and around mid-table for the majority of the campaign.

On a few occasions they got as high as 10th, but have since fallen to 16th in the Championship table, picking up 48 points from 41 games played.

Whilst the find Neil’s replacement, Frankie McAvoy steps in for now, but the club’s fans ‘may wait until the end of the season’ if they are to appoint strongly linked Wycombe Wanderers boss Gareth Ainsworth.

The Chairboys manager remain at the bottom of the Championship table after a late surge in their almost impossible fight against relegation.

The ever reliable journalist Alan Nixon writes how Preston will have a ‘better chance’ of landing the Chairboys boss in the summer once Wycombe’s fate is decided.

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His long-term work at Wycombe is described as highly commendable and his side knew they were going to be up against it by playing in the second tier of English football for the first time in their history.

Wycombe will no doubt be very keen to keep hold of their manager regardless if they stay up or go down, however he is no doubt going to have plenty interest in the summer with a lot of managerial changes expected with manager clubs waiting until the end of the season before appointing a new permanent boss.

Gareth Ainsworth has hardly played down speculation linking him with a move to Preston in recent weeks.

Speaking on Sky Sports Soccer Special two weeks ago, Ainsworth admitted that the club hold a ‘big piece’ of his heart.

Ainsworth noted that it would take something special for him to leave Wycombe, and Preston could be that job given his emotional ties to the club, but he preferred to go down the ‘no comment’ line.

“Two fantastic football clubs, that’s all I can say,” said Ainsworth. “I’m flattered as always to be linked with these jobs. Obviously I started my career at Preston (North End), which holds a big piece of my heart.”

“But as I’ve always said it’d take something super special for me to vacate Wycombe – where we’ve built this culture with what we are doing so far. So yeah, unfortunately there will be no comment from me tonight, but thank you to all the fans concerned at both clubs. It’s nice to be wanted,” he added.

He added: “Obviously, it’s a huge club, one of the original six members of the Football League with a glorious history.

“I’m glad to say I’m a part of that history with my league debuts and my 150 first-team appearances for that club.

“So, I’m really proud and it is an honour to be linked with that managerial job as it is such a huge club.

“I’m sat here as Wycombe manager and taking control of Wycombe tomorrow and now we can say Wycombe is a big club a lot bigger than it was and I’m really proud to play a part of that history.”


Gareth Ainsworth – 2/1
Frankie McAvoy – 4/1
Nicky Butt – 4/1
Roy Keane – 7/1
Uwe Rosler – 8/1
Joey Barton – 12/1

Fans reacted with Preston strongly linked with appointing the manager of relegation contenders Wycombe…

@TomPne77: Could do worse? He is going to be relegated with Wycombe. Why do we want a manager with that on his CV Imo he isn’t better than the manager we sacked. I’d genuinely rather have AN.

@SammRogg: Ainsworth will be waiting for the Blackburn role

@mattyjenkins80: Wow

@MissC2020: Not my first choice, but wouldn’t be disappointed

@_danmcdonald: I’d honestly be devastated if Ainsworth left but I’d be very surprised that he’d turn an offer like that down. On a much higher salary, can take Preston on a play off charge next season, much more freedom to sign high quality players etc. Surely a no brainier for him personally?

@harrycowell: I have serious doubts about appointing him. Do we really want to go back to long ball? It’s important not to let sentiment get in the way

@MarkKHewitt: So basically he is saying pay me then I am currently on and I will be in the first train to Preston

@jdnwils: Just make it happen.

@AlexBroom_: This would be a good move for Gaz. Preston are a top club with a great recruitment model. I honestly think he should grab this opportunity, as much as it pains me to say it.

@krissammons_: No no no no no no no no no no No

@PNEhomeandaway: What a guy

@DylanIng3: “Come and make me an offer”

@DylanIng3: Can’t help but feel him saying “there’ll be no comment from me tonight” hints at the fact there’s something in the pipeline… because if there wasn’t, surely he’d say nothings on the table yet? No? Just me 😅

@txmejackala: I feel like giving Gareth Ainsworth the Preston job could allow him to evolve himself as a manager and allow him to try something new and different from his typical style. Given a bigger budget than he would at Wycombe and a better squad (on paper), it could work

@0161ppr: I’d love to have him because he loves the club and he wouldn’t do a bad job, it’s just the style of play is something which I couldn’t watch

@Pnegouldie: No. Regardless of his connection to the club. Need someone with experience in this league and the premiership.

@Graham_Down: Gareth Ainsworth wants that Preston job u could see 🤣 #SoccerSpecial

@owenparkes123: Be really interested to how Gareth Ainsworth would get on at Preston. I do think he shouldn’t go back to League One and Preston is probably the right step up. He’s so fun.

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