Wycombe Wanderers boss Gareth Ainsworth has hardly played down speculation linking him with a move to Preston.
North End chose to part ways with Alex Neil on Sunday afternoon, with Saturday’s 1-0 home defeat to Luton Town proving to be his final game in charge.
Frankie McAvoy will take charge until the summer, meaning there aren’t many rumours out there about a potential successor just yet.
Still, the favourite with bookmakers is Wycombe boss Ainsworth, who is something of a North End hero due to having three spells with the club as a player.
Ainsworth has done a staggering job at Wycombe, guiding them to the Championship for the first time in their history despite having a tiny budget.
He has masterminded two wins over Preston this season and was unlucky not to grab another one at Deepdale earlier this season as North End luckily snatched a 2-2 draw.
His football has been attritional at Wycombe, but that may be because of his budget, so some want to see him given a chance with more money and perceivably ‘better’ players – even though they came unstuck against his Chairboys this season.
Speaking on Gillette Soccer Special on Tuesday night, Ainsworth refused to rule out a move to Preston, admitting the club hold a ‘big piece’ of his heart.
Ainsworth noted that it would take something special for him to leave Wycombe, and Preston could be that job given his emotional ties to the club, but he preferred to go down the ‘no comment’ line.
“Two fantastic football clubs, that’s all I can say,” said Ainsworth. “I’m flattered as always to be linked with these jobs. Obviously I started my career at Preston (North End), which holds a big piece of my heart.”
“But as I’ve always said it’d take something super special for me to vacate Wycombe – where we’ve built this culture with what we are doing so far. So yeah, unfortunately there will be no comment from me tonight, but thank you to all the fans concerned at both clubs. It’s nice to be wanted,” he added.