‘My lad told me’ - Ryan Lowe addresses Rangers manager links as Preston North End progress emphasised
Preston North End manager Ryan Lowe views links to the Rangers job as normal given the Lilywhites’ start to the season.
On Monday evening reports emerged claiming that the ‘Gers had earmarked Lowe as a candidate for the vacant role. The Ibrox side parted ways with Michael Beale on Sunday - the former QPR boss lasting 10 months with the Scottish Premier League side. Rangers are third in the table having won four and lost three league games this campaign. They are seven points adrift of leaders Celtic.
Former Rangers defender Kevin Muscat - and current Yokohama F Marinos manager - is the favourite for the position. But, Lowe’s name has been thrown into the ring, with PNE sitting third in the Championship. North End have won six out of nine, drawing two and losing one this campaign. Lowe is in his third season at the Deepdale helm and taking the Rangers speculation with a pinch of salt.
"I was aware of it this morning actually on the way in, my lad told me," said Lowe in his pre-match press conference. "Again, I don't do social media, I don't know. But, I think I've been linked with many jobs since I've been a manager. I think, when your team is doing well and you're doing well, you're obviously going to get linked. But, I am the Preston North End manager and it's a privilege to manage this football club, working with Peter Ridsdale and the Hemmings family. Whether it is true or it's not true, I don't know. But, as far as I'm concerned, this football club and the fans have stuck by me.
“We went through a tough time last season and you only have to look at what we are doing now. I think I will probably be one of 20 or 30 people to be linked with a fantastic opportunity to manage someone like Rangers Football Club. But, my sole importance is Preston North End and there will probably be another manager linked with it this afternoon, tomorrow and whenever. For us, it is just the work we are doing. We are just doing our job and ultimately, when you are doing a decent enough job you are always going to get linked with other clubs. I am probably just one of 25 or 30 names, so it's nothing to me. My sole focus is PNE."
Lowe has regularly voiced his appreciation for the stability on offer for managers at Preston. It is not something he takes for granted, having endured the turmoil at Bury FC early in his managerial career. North End’s manager sees PNE as a good fit for him and he admits it would take something pretty special to turn his head.
"I am one of those managers that is still learning," said Lowe. "I am still on that track of wanting to be the best I can be, wherever that takes me. As a lifespan as a manager, I think I am probably one of the longest serving in the Championship and that's because I'm at a fantastic football club - well backed and well supported. There are never any rash decisions, it is always structured and done properly. Who knows? One day I want to obviously manage in the Premier League, like most young managers do.
“I would love nothing more than to do that with a club that is 29 miles away from my home. But again, everyone has ambition to manage in the Premier League. I wouldn't be jumping ship to go to a club just on par with Preston North End, it has got to be something special and I don't think that is around the corner. I think I've still got a lot to do and lots of work. I work with good people and the more you work with good people, the better you can be."
On how far along Lowe thinks his Preston journey is, he added: "I think we have made a lot of progress, with the players we've brought in and the way the club is structured. The progress is not just about me - I have fantastic staff, players and everyone associated. I think, now, the recruitment has been a real big, big plus for us. I think the players we've brought in have been fantastic - again, not to disrespect the players we've had previously.
“And then that has got to continue over two years, like a cycle. But I am a big believer that, when you've got what you need, you can try and compete. That is certainly what we feel we've got now: a squad which we feel can compete. So, I think the football club is evolving and Peter has been amazing in everything he has done. Craig has backed us from the top, with the family. So, it all bodes well and it's a good place to be at the moment. I want that to continue."