Preston North End place Scottish coach Frankie McAvoy in charge after exit of ex-Hamilton boss Alex Neil

Alex Neil and Preston North End have parted ways on the back of the club’s 20th defeat of the season, the Lancashire club has announced.

Neil began his coaching career at Hamilton Academical, taking the side into the Premiership as player-manager before moving south to Norwich City. He took the Canaries into the English Premier League via the 2015 play-offs alongside Gary Holt and Frankie McAvoy but couldn’t keep them up.

McAvoy joined Neil at Preston when the duo took over four years ago and the coach will remain in charge for the remaining eight matches of the skybet Championship campaign, the club has said.

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Neil had recently been linked with a move to Celtic, however he leaves Deepdale with PNE 16th in the English second tier, nine points off the relegation places but with just three wins this year allied with just three draws since the start of January.

North End said Neil “leaves with the best wishes of the club for the future”.

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