Lincoln City v Cheltenham Town - Sky Bet League One
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Ex-Preston ace Michael Appleton leave Lincoln City just hours after end of season

Preston may still have one game left but the League One season is over – and Michael Appleton has already left Lincoln City this afternoon.

North End beat Barnsley 3-1 at Oakwell as Daniel Johnson bagged a brace whilst Emil Riis also scored.

Over at Lincoln, they managed to beat already-relegated Crewe Alexandra 2-1 at the LNER Stadium.

Hakeeb Adelakun’s last-gasp winner sealed the victory for Lincoln in their final game of the season.

Yet just hours after being able to end their season with a victory, Lincoln have confirmed the departure of boss Appleton.

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It sounds like a pretty mutual thing, with chairman Clive Nates suggesting that it was just the right time for all to move on.

This brings an end to more than two-and-a-half years in charge of Lincoln as Appleton now prepares for his next chapter in football.

Appleton is likely to be in demand this summer with League One clubs no doubt interested in landing him.

Appleton, 46, was a Preston favourite back in his playing days having arrived from Manchester United back in 1997.

The midfielder was a part of North End’s promotion-winning team in 2000, winning the third division title.

Come January 2001, Appleton was on the move to West Bromwich Albion. Sadly, injuries meant Appleton was forced to retire in 2003 at the age of just 27.

Photo by Chris Vaughan – CameraSport via Getty Images

It’s a shame that Appleton’s playing career ended that but he has carved out a fine coaching career.

Appleton impressed in charge of Oxford United between 2014 and 2017 before then taking Lincoln to the League One playoffs last season.

Blackpool beat Appleton’s Imps in the final and he just hasn’t been able to replicate that success this term.

We had wondered if Appleton would be on Preston’s radar to replace Alex Neil or Frankie McAvoy in 2021 given his ties to North End and record at Lincoln.

That seemingly won’t be happening any time soon though, with Ryan Lowe in charge and Appleton left pondering his next move.

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