Search is on for next PNE boss

Steve Thompson is overseeing first-team affairs at PNE after Simon Grayson's departure
Steve Thompson is overseeing first-team affairs at PNE after Simon Grayson's departure
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Preston North End will take the necessary time to find a successor to Simon Grayson after his departure to take the Sunderland job.

Around 20 applicants were in touch with PNE from the news of Grayson’s exit coming out to the close of business last night.

The appointment will not be rushed though, despite the poor timing of it happening on the day the players came back for pre-season training.

First-team coach Steve Thompson has been tasked with overseeing the opening stages of training, helped by keeper coach Alan Kelly.

North End fans will all have their own favourites when it comes to Grayson’s successor.

Former Preston boss David Moyes is high up in the betting, with it being his resignation at Sunderland which created the vacancy filled by Grayson.

But club sources indicate that at this stage, going down the route of a previous boss is not one likely to be taken.

Ex-PNE favourite Graham Alexander, now Scunthorpe manager, is another popular name doing the rounds.

Nigel Pearson, Uwe Rosler,
 Alex Neil, Paul Lambert, 
Ryan Giggs and ex-England midfielder Steven Gerrard are others on the bookies’ list.

Thompson’s name is also in the betting, although it is too early at this stage to say if he would be a candidate.

North End do have a bit of time to play with during the early stages of pre-season but will want a new man bedded in well before the campaign kicks off.

They need the right man to build on what Grayson has done and push them on.

What Grayson’s exit will not affect is their recruitment.

The completion of a fourth summer signing is very close and the recruitment has been a club exercise, rather than just done by the manager.

Grayson was in charge for four years and four months, the longest-serving Preston manager since Jimmy Milne in the 1960s.

Yesterday was something of a whirlwind for PNE, with Grayson at Springfields to start training.

The official approach from Sunderland came during the morning, with the Black Cats agreeing to meet the figure of compensation written into the manager’s contract.

That has been reported as £750,000.

Peter Ridsdale, advisor to Trevor Hemmings, addressed the players and coaching staff at Springfields to inform them of the situation.

Sunderland announced the deal at 7.30pm last night, Grayson having signed a 
three-year contract.

Assistant manager Glynn Snodin has followed him, with compensation also 
having been agreed for him.

Grayson is the first PNE manager to leave for another job since Billy Davies in 2006.