It was just last week that Alex Neil was being linked away from Preston, and here we are yet again.
The Daily Mail reported that Celtic were looking to lure Neil back to Scotland as Brendan Rodgers’ successor. Neil then told The Scottish Sun that he had no interest in managing Celtic or leaving Preston at all.
All good then. Neil then guided North End to a fine derby day win over Blackburn Rovers on Saturday, keeping the late play-off hunt going.
However, West Bromwich Albion could only draw with Ipswich Town hours later. That result didn’t impact Preston directly, but may do now as Darren Moore was sacked just hours later.
A host of names have been linked with the promotion-chasing Baggies, and whilst ex-Fulham boss Slavisa Jokanovic is in the race, it may be time to worry.
Sky Sports’ Rob Dorsett has today reported that Neil is a ‘strong contender’ to take the reins at The Hawthorns. No approach has been made yet, though talks have been held with Jokanovic.
#pnefc manager, Alex Neil, is a strong contender to fill the vacancy at #wbafc, I’ve been told.
No formal approach so far – initial talks have been held with the reps of Slavisa Jokanovic, as Albion consider options. CEO due back from China tonight, when process will accelerate.
— Rob Dorsett (@RobDorsettSky) March 12, 2019
The hope is that Jokanovic, out of work since November, lands the job and Preston’s worries are eased again. Yet the wider angle is that Neil is undoubtedly turning heads with his work at Deepdale.
At just 37, Neil is one of English football’s top young managers. He’s worked wonders on a limited budget at North End, whilst developing young players and pushing an attractive yet committed brand of football too.
He already has a promotion to the top flight on his CV, and has suffered just four defeats in the last 26 at North End. Whether it’s Celtic, West Brom or anybody else, clubs will be coming for Neil soon – and North End must sell the idea that he’s better off staying at Deepdale.