Preston North End's Championship rivals Blackpool lose head coach

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Preston North End’s local rivals Blackpool have lost their head coach Neil Critchley to Aston Villa the club have confirmed.

The 43-year-old departs Bloomfield Road to work with Steven Gerrard, who is a close friend of PNE boss Ryan Lowe, to work as his assistant, having previously worked together at Liverpool.

Appointed at Blackpool in March 2020, Critchley guided the Seasiders to a Championship promotion, via the play-offs, in his first full season.

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Last season Blackpool finished 16th in the Championship. There has been talk they are having to cut back their spending this season due to a new training ground being built and look set to lose key man Josh Bowler.

Former Blackpool boss Neil Critchley.Former Blackpool boss Neil Critchley.
Former Blackpool boss Neil Critchley.

Blackpool FC owner Simon Sadler said: “Neil has been a consummate professional ever since arriving at Blackpool and has really bought into what this club and town are all about. He has built up strong relationships with the staff, players and supporters and made some special memories for us all.

“Naturally, we are disappointed to lose him, but thank him for all that he has achieved during his time at Bloomfield Road and wish him well in the Premier League with Aston Villa.

“Our primary focus now turns to succession planning and making the best possible appointment to continue taking this great club of ours forward.”