Neil is the new PNE boss

New PNE boss Alex Neil
New PNE boss Alex Neil

Alex Neil has been appointed Preston North End manager.

The 36-year-old Scotsman will take up the job on Thursday and have a watching brief at North End's opening pre-season friendly against Bamber Bridge on Friday.

Alex Neil

Alex Neil

He has agreed a 12-month rolling contract, succeeding Simon Grayson who joined Sunderland last week.

Neil said: "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.

“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.

“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.

“There will be players who are quite pleased that everyone is on a level field and there will be players who feel they have already shown their worth to the previous manager, but the good thing for every one of them is the fact that I am coming in fresh.

"I will judge every one fairly and they will all have to try and impress me to make sure they are getting themselves into the team for the first game of the season. I think that is refreshing. I think it is something for me and them to look forward to."

North End's backroom staff of first-team coach Steve Thompson, goalkeeper coach Alan Kelly, physio Matt Jackson and fitness coach Tom Little will remain in place to work with Neil.

Neil guided Norwich to promotion from the Championship in 2015 and before that, led Hamilton to the top flight in Scotland.