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Gareth Ainsworth responds when asked if he fancies becoming North End boss

Preston sacked Alex Neil in March, and have yet to decide on a permanent replacement going forward.

Interim head coach Frankie McAvoy has guided North End to safety, and he looks to be in contention to land the job on a full-time basis.

Still, other managers are being linked, and Wycombe Wanderers boss Gareth Ainsworth remains a popular name in the media.

Ainsworth had three spells with Preston as a player, becoming something of a cult hero during his time at Deepdale, and a return has been suggested.

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Last month, Ainsworth was coy when asked about a potential move back to Preston, simply stating that he was flattered, had emotional ties to Preston and was loyal to Wycombe.

On Tuesday night, Ainsworth spoke on Gillette Soccer Special once again, and vowed to stay diplomatic by reiterating his love for Wycombe as well as his admiration for Preston.

Ainsworth did though state that anyone would be interested in the Preston job, but is happy at Wycombe despite the hints about his desire to come back to Deepdale.

“Preston are one of the founder members and what a history they’ve got, but again I’ll say it – Wycombe is a fantastic club to be at, so the diplomatic answer will have to stay I’m afraid,” said Ainsworth.

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“There have been links in the past, and it is these ex-clubs that you really have that feeling for and that passion for, and of course, who wouldn’t be interested in Preston North End? But at the moment I’m very happy at Wycombe Wanderers,” he added.

Ainsworth’s Wycombe side are bottom of the Championship table, but remarkably still have a chance to stay up after outstanding work from Ainsworth.

The football has been attritional, but Wycombe were expected to be long gone by now given their budget. Instead, Ainsworth has them fighting, scrapping until the very end.

Preston have failed to beat Ainsworth’s Wycombe in three attempts this season, and if North End want an appointment that restores a strong connection with some disgruntled fans, Ainsworth could be the man.

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