Preston appoint Alex Neil to replace Simon Grayson

Former Norwich manager given a 12-month rolling contract at Championship side

Former Norwich manager  Alex Neil has taken over at Preston. Photograph:   Harry Trump/Getty Images

Former Norwich manager Alex Neil has taken over at Preston. Photograph: Harry Trump/Getty Images

 

Championship side Preston have appointed former Norwich boss Alex Neil as their new manager.

North End had a vacancy to fill for the first time in four years after Simon Grayson was appointed by Sunderland last month, and they have opted to fill it with 36-year-old Scot Neil.

He met the Lilywhites hierarchy on Monday and, boasting a CV that includes promotions to the top flight in England and Scotland, impressed sufficiently to be given a 12-month rolling contract at Deepdale.

Neil, who has been out of work since being axed by Norwich in March, is taking charge of a team that is hoping to take the next step after consecutive top-half finishes in the Championship

“I’ve looked at this opportunity and seen that the club has made progress for four years running and I am looking forward to trying to continue that progress,” he said.

“It is a really good challenge for me. I have been involved in a lot of big games in a short space of time and hopefully we can be involved in a lot more big games here at Preston North End.

“Taking over a job in this situation means we have a confident squad that have been performing well over the last couple of seasons. There will not be a task of trying to lift the players, they have shown they are a good team and they can compete at this level and my job is to come in and try and help them improve as individuals and improve us as a club and hopefully try and push further up the league.

“The ultimate aim for any club in the Championship is to try and get promoted at some stage. The club has been stable in the Championship for the last two years and you never know what is going to happen in the next year or two, but we want to try and build a side and a squad that is capable of competing at the top end of the Championship and if we can get a bit of momentum, you never know where you can end up.”

The Cork City duo of striker Seán Maguire and left back Kevin O’Connor are the latest Irish player to sign for the Lancashire club, joining Andy Boyle, Greg Cunnigham, Alan Browne, Daryl Horgan and Eoin Doyle.

Aiden McGeady also enjoyed an impressive loan spell at the club last season before returning to Everton. The winger is believed to be a target of Grayson at Sunderland.

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