Alex Neil: Preston North End appoint ex-Norwich boss as manager

Alex Neil
Alex Neil won promotion to the Premier League as manager of Norwich in 2015

Championship club Preston have appointed former Norwich and Hamilton boss Alex Neil as their new manager.

The 36-year-old has replaced Simon Grayson, who left North End to join Sunderland on 29 June.

The Scot will take up the role officially on Thursday after being given a one-year rolling contract.

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We'll work with squad we've got - Alex Neil

"It is a really good challenge for me. The club has made progress and I am looking forward to trying to continue that progress," said Neil.

Neil has been out of the game since March, when he was sacked by Norwich after 27 months at Carrow Road.

He led Norwich into the Premier League via the Championship play-offs in 2015, but the Canaries lasted only one season in the top flight before being relegated.

Preston finished 11th in the Championship last season but Neil believes he has a squad with the ability to challenge for a higher position in the table.

"The ultimate aim for any club in the Championship is to try to get promoted at some stage," said Neil.

"The club has been stable in the Championship for the last two years and you never know what is going to happen in the next year or two, but we want to try to build a side and a squad that is capable of competing at the top end of the Championship."

Previously, Neil had spent two years at Hamilton, guiding the club into the Scottish Premiership in his first full season.

He becomes Preston's youngest permanent manager since fellow Scot David Moyes, who was 34 when he took over as player-manager at Deepdale in 1998.

Preston North End players
Preston flirted with a play-off push last season before finishing comfortably in mid-table

Analysis

BBC Radio Lancashire's Andy Bayes

Alex Neil joins a club that has enjoyed great stability over the past four years under Simon Grayson.

North End have re-established themselves as a top-half Championship club and the aim must be to maintain that under a manager who already has a promotion to the Premier League on his CV.

Neil inherits a solid squad, a terrific team spirit, but one which needs additions if they are to really challenge for a top-six spot.

Central defenders and a replacement for Aiden McGeady will no doubt be on Neil's shopping list.

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