Stoke City chasing Preston North End coach Paul Gallagher with Alex Neil eyeing reunion

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Preston North End first team coach Paul Gallagher is wanted by Championship rivals Stoke City.

The Potters are reportedly interested in the 38-year-old in order to set up a reunion between Gallagher and former boss Alex Neil.

Gallagher played under Neil when the Scot was North End manager and was involved in the coaching towards the end of his tenure. When Neil was sacked, Gallagher stepped into a first team coaching role as a part of a new backroom staff to see the Lilywhites through until the end of the season, alongside Steve Thompson and head coach Frankie McAvoy.

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McAvoy was given the role full time at the end of the 2020/21 season and Gallagher hung up his boots, joining the first team coaching staff where he has remained since.

Alex Neil and Paul Gallagher celebrate at QPR back in 2019Alex Neil and Paul Gallagher celebrate at QPR back in 2019
Alex Neil and Paul Gallagher celebrate at QPR back in 2019

When Ryan Lowe was appointed North End manager, Steve Thompson departed the club but Gallagher was kept on, staying in amongst it alongside Lowe, Mike Marsh, his assistant, and goalkeeping coach Mike Pollitt who all play important roles in setting up the team for matchdays.

Gallagher is a modern day icon at Deepdale, making 313 appearances for the club across two spells, converting from a flashy forward to a cultured holding midfielder.

He was instrumental in PNE winning promotion in 2015 – registering an impressive 17 assists – and played a key role in their consolidation in the division and subsequent pushes for a play-off spot.

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North End are not willing to allow Gallagher to leave for nothing, and would expect compensation from their Championship rivals if they want to tempt their coach to the Bet365 Stadium, although as yet that has not happened.

Speaking to the Lancashire Post in March, Pollitt told of the involvement of all the staff in Lowe’s current set up and how they all contribute.

He said: “All of the coaching staff here, we all work together. Mike Marsh, Paul Gallagher, myself, we're all in the same room - the analysts as well. They all ask our opinions and what do you think about certain things.

"The manager asks our opinions like he does for all of the coaching staff or analysts as you're putting stuff together for the opposition for each game. We always have a little say, whatever it may be or whatever comes up.

"Even during the game, if you see something, I have a say in that as well whether it's the goalkeeping side of things or the outfield stuff as well.”