Former City boss signs new Preston contract after ‘difficult few days’ amid West Brom speculation

PUBLISHED: 12:36 15 April 2019 | UPDATED: 14:06 15 April 2019

Alex Neil is staying with Preston, after signing a new contract Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

Alex Neil is staying with Preston, after signing a new contract Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

Paul Chesterton

Alex Neil has put an end to speculation linking him with the vacancy at West Brom by signing a new three-year deal at Preston North End.

The 37-year-old former Norwich City manager arrived at Deepdale in July 2017, just under four months after being sacked by the Canaries.

He led North End to seventh place in the Championship in his first season and a run of eight wins from 12 unbeaten games had put the Lilywhites on course for a play-off place this term.

However, four straight defeats since then have left them eight points adrift with four games remaining and his future overshadowed a 4-1 defeat at West Brom on Saturday – having been favourite with the bookies in recent weeks.

“It has been a difficult few days working in a situation where the club and I had no control over what has been said, but I am absolutely delighted to be able to commit my future to the club and to continue with the project we have been working on,” Neil told Preston's website.

“This is a fantastic football club and we have built a young squad that not only has great ability but has great potential to improve, and I thoroughly enjoy working with them and seeing them give everything to get better, every single day.

“I am grateful to the owner, Mr Hemmings, and his representative, Peter Ridsdale, for showing faith in me and supporting me and I look forward to giving everything for this proud club going forward.”

Neil arrived at Norwich in January 2015 and inspired promotion via the play-off final, beating Middlesbrough 2-0 at Wembley, but couldn't keep the Canaries in the Premier League and struggled to regain momentum in the Championship.

Former Leeds owner Ridsdale, on behalf of owner Trevor Hemmings, added: “Alex has shown in the past two years that he is one of the best young managers in the game and it shows the club's ambition and commitment to improvement that he has agreed this new deal with us.

“Alex's work rate and passion for the game is second to none and we are delighted that he has committed his long-term future to Preston North End and the owner and I look forward to working closely with him to achieve the ambitions we have for the club.”

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