Preston boss Alex Neil has commented on those Stoke City links for the first time.
North End take on Charlton Athletic at midday today, but the game was put on the back burner on Saturday afternoon. Unfortunately, managerial speculation overshadowed the game.
Stoke City sacked boss Nathan Jones on Friday, and seemingly targeted Neil as his replacement. In fact, talkSPORT even claimed that his appointment was imminent.
Preston completely refuted that with two statements. The first suggested that no business would be done with the Potters because the situation was leaked to the media, and Stoke had been reported to the EFL for an illegal approach.
The second statement, posted late last night, declared that Neil was committed to Preston and to the contract he signed back in April. Hopefully that’s the end of the matter, but Neil of course had to field questions today.
Neil has told Sky Sports ahead of today’s game at Charlton that it was business as usual on Saturday, with not much interest paid to the rumours.
Neil does feel that the interest is natural given Preston’s strong start to the season, but his one focus is North End, and he’s looking to finish off the job here and win promotion.
“I think it was just speculation,” said Neil. “As far as I’m concerned, it was just business usual for us, we haven’t really made anything of it, it’s just a case of cracking on. I think it’s a reflection of what the team has delivered, I think we’ve got a great set of lads here, they’ve performed very well this season so far, and we’re just looking to keep that going. Naturally, if players do very well, they’ll get interest and I think obviously if you pick results up, there might be interest from elsewhere as well.”
“I’ve got one focus, and that’s Preston North End, and that’s it. I came here a couple of years ago, I’ve really enjoyed my time here and I think that we’ve got a lot of scope to finish off the job. This squad is as strong as I’ve had since I’ve been here, I love working with these lads and I think we can achieve something special, but as always, it’s going to be difficult,” he added.