Exclusive Sean Gregan column

Former Preston North End manager David Moyes was sacked by Real Sociedad last week
Former Preston North End manager David Moyes was sacked by Real Sociedad last week
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My former boss David Moyes might have been sacked last week but I do not envisage him being out of the game for long.

Real Sociedad called time on his reign in Spain just a day short of being in charge for 12 months.

Moyes will be back and I’m certain that his next job will be in the Premier League.

I doubt it would be at a club in the top six but more likely one a bit lower down where there is the chance to build something.

I’ve said in the past that his big strength is not in doing big deals in the transfer market or buying world-class players.

What Moyes is extremely good at doing is polishing up players, working with them on the training ground, making them better players.

He did that at Preston and again at Everton. Manchester United did not work out for him but I’m sure whoever United put in after Sir Alex Ferguson retired would have struggled.

If it had been Louis van Gaal or Carlo Ancelotti, they would probably have had a struggle.

However, you cannot blame Moyes for taking the job – after all, who would turn down United?

After he left Sociedad, I did see suggestions that Moyes might have to settle for a club in the Championship and get back that way.

I don’t see that, for me he has earned the right to be a Premier League manager.

Him being available will put pressure on managers, with their clubs knowing they have a ready-made replacement should they need a change.

You saw that with Jurgen Klopp – once it became known that he was ready to return, Liverpool were quick to fire Brendan Rodgers.

Obviously, I have got a lot of time for Moyes – he was the manager who guided Preston to promotion in 2000 and got to us to within 90 minutes of the Premier League the following season.

Like all strong characters, we had our disagreements but Moyes got so much out of the squad.

When he left for Everton, it did affect us.

Had he stayed, I think we had the nucleus of a squad which could have got North End promoted.

But it started falling apart a bit, Jon Macken had just been sold to Manchester City and then Moyes went.

I went that summer and maybe if we had all given it another season, we might have gone up.

Moving back to the present day, PNE will spend this week building up to the derby with Blackburn on Saturday.

Their recent good form and Blackburn’s decision to change manager, will make it an interesting afternoon.

Derby games are brilliant for players and supporters – as long as things go right!

During my time at Preston, I didn’t experience the best of times against Rovers. In the League Cup in 1997, we got beaten 6-0 at Ewood Park.

That was the time when they were splashing the cash, and they had Chris Sutton and Martin Dahlin up front that night.

We played Blackburn again in the season when we reached the play-off final at the Millennium Stadium.

They beat us 3-2 at their place and then, towards the end of the season, Rovers won at our place which got them automatic promotion.

We played really well and their goal from Matt Jansen was against the run of play.

Hopefully Preston will get the right result this time.