Another day, another rumour about the future of Preston boss Alex Neil.
It’s well known at this point that West Bromwich Albion want Neil. They sacked Darren Moore last month, and James Shan’s caretaker spell has been a mixed bag. He won his first three games in charge, but has now lost the last two.
Tuesday’s 3-2 defeat at Bristol City has set in panic at The Hawthorns, and the Baggies are seemingly preparing changes. Rather than give Shan the end of the season and the playoffs, they seemingly want a new manager in now.
Their top target is Neil, and his odds on becoming next West Brom manager crashed on Wednesday. North End’s season appears to be over after losing to Sheffield United and Leeds United, so a playoff campaign with West Brom may be appealing.
Neil took his pre-match press conference today as usual, preparing to face – ironically – West Brom. He played down the rumours, not with quite as much vigour as earlier in the week.
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Some fans have already given up hope of keeping Neil, and it does look pretty bleak. West Brom are a much bigger club, with bigger budgets and aspirations. Anybody would really consider the move a step up, at least on the surface.
Now, Sky Sports have offered the latest on the saga. They claim that Neil wants assurances before making any move to The Hawthorns. That includes promises over budgets and first team control, seemingly giving a tiny, tiny glimmer of hope to North End that he could yet snub the Baggies.
That seems unlikely, but Neil may not get quite as much control at West Brom as he does at Preston. Their budget should be higher, but if they miss out on promotion, they will have to slash their wage bill with high-profile exits.
There’s a chance, just a slim one, that Neil may yet remain at Deepdale.