Some familiar names in the frame to succeed Alex Neil as Preston North End boss

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Three former Preston North End players are featuring in the betting to be the successor to Alex Neil at Deepdale.

Gareth Ainsworth is the current favourite with the bookies for the PNE job, with Michael Appleton and Callum Davidson also in the running.

Frankie McAvoy features in the betting, having been handed the interim head coach role for the remainder of the season.

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These are early stages in any managerial search, with McAvoy handed the task of turning North End’s form around when action resumes after the international break.

Wycombe boss Gareth Ainsworth with PNE's Paul Gallagher after the clubs' recent league meetingWycombe boss Gareth Ainsworth with PNE's Paul Gallagher after the clubs' recent league meeting
Wycombe boss Gareth Ainsworth with PNE's Paul Gallagher after the clubs' recent league meeting

As interim coach, the 53-year-old has been given the usual encouragement to try and make the job permanent.

But it will be interesting to see PNE’s next turn at the end of the season.

Ainsworth, who is trying to steer Wycombe off the foot of the Championship, was 4/1 with Sky Bet last night.

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In his playing days he was a fans’ favourite at North End, having three spells here.

The middle one of those spells under John Beck was when Ainsworth reached the hearts of the PNE faithful.

He made 100 appearances between December 1992 and October 1995, scoring 12 goals.

Ainsworth played six times in his first spell a year before, then came back on loan in March 2002 to pull on the shirt on five more occasions.

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The 47-year-old has been Wycombe manager since 2012, and is soon to hit the 450-game mark there.

He has won two promotions in guiding them from League Two through to the Championship.

Ainsworth’s side have beaten PNE twice this year, 4-1 in the FA Cup and 1-0 in the league nine days ago.

Lincoln City manager Appleton was in the North End squad which won the Second Division title under David Moyes in 1999/2000.

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The Imps are in fourth place in League One, with Appleton in charge since September 2019.

He jumped around jobs earlier in his managerial career, Appleton in charge at Portsmouth, Blackpool and Blackburn in quick succession before settling into a longer stay at Oxford.

Davidson is managing in Scotland at St Johnstone, the club where he kicked off his playing career.

Last month, he led them to Scottish League Cup glory.

Others featuring in the betting include Hull City’s Grant McCann, Daniel Stendel, Derek McInnes and Neil Harris.

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PNE placed McAvoy in temporary charge on Sunday after sacking Neil who had been in charge since July 2017.

The Scot, who also worked with Neil at Hamilton and Norwich, is being assisted by Steve Thompson, Paul Gallagher and Mike Pollitt.

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