Preston North End boss Alex Neil's link to Bristol City ends as Robins appoint Dean Holden as head coach

Any links between Preston boss Alex Neil and Bristol City’s head coach vacancy were cut on Monday night when the Robins appointed Dean Holden.

Tuesday, 11th August 2020, 12:30 pm

For a brief spell at the end of July, Neil was the bookies’ favourite for the City job, a flurry of bets seeing his odds shorten.

He was one of at least six people to have had the ‘favourite’ tag attached to him during the Ashton Gate club’s search.

Neil was always a long shot, though, and in the end Bristol City looked at home, appointing Holden who had been their caretaker head coach for the final five games of last season.

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Preston North End boss Alex Neil on the touchline as Ashton Gate during the clash with Bristol City in July

A compensation package for Neil would be heavy for any club tempted to try and lure him away from Deepdale.

They would have to pay the remainder of his contract which has two years to run.

There was a Preston link when it came to City naming Holden as their new man.

Former PNE manager Paul Simpson was appointed as one of Holden’s assistant coaches together with Keith Downing.

Former PNE manager Paul Simpson has joined the coaching staff at Bristol City

Simpson and Downing have both been recruited from England’s Young Lions set-up where they had been coaching the Under-20s and Under-19s respectively.

In 2017, Simpson guided England to victory in the Under-20s World Cup in South Korea.

He managed North End between June 2006 and November 2007, having taken over from Billy Davies.

Bristol City are the fifth Championship club to have made a managerial/head coach appointment during the close season.

Middlesbrough gave Neil Warnock their manager’s job full-time after he had guided them clear of relegation danger in the final eight games of last season.

Following their relegation from the Premier League and departure of Eddie Howe, Bournemouth appointed Howe’s assistant Jason Tindell as manager over the weekend.

Aitor Karanka is now in charge at Birmingham City, replacing Pep Clotet who left before the end of last season.

Huddersfield looked just along the M62 to Leeds for their replacement for Danny Cowley.

They’ve appointed Carlos Corberan as head coach, the Spaniard having been on Marcelo Bielsa’s coaching staff at Leeds.

Watford still have a vacancy for a manager, Nigel Pearson having been sacked towards the end of last season.