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Ainsworth Wycombe

Gareth Ainsworth

Long-serving Wycombe Wanderers manager Gareth Ainsworth is the red-hot favourite to take the hot seat at Deepdale as relegation looms for the Chairboys. Despite a relegation soon to be on the 47-year-old's CV, Ainsworth has worked wonders at Adams Park in actually getting them into the Championship. Having taken the role as permanent manager in 2013 after spells as a player-coach and caretaker manager, the club have found themselves on an upward trajectory ever since. 

Wycombe were in League Two at the time of Ainsworth's appointment, meaning he has overseen an unlikely two promotions for a club with a significantly lower wage budget than the teams they compete with. Also, during Ainsworth's eight years in charge, he has clocked up an impressive 404 games (157 wins, 149 losses) and averaged a points per game total of 1.41. 

These credentials make Ainsworth the favourite for the job at Deepdale, and despite having a long-lasting affiliation with Wycombe, the 47-year-old may feel he has taken them as far as he can and sees him priced at 4/1.

Michael Appleton

Lincoln City boss Michael Appleton is the second favourite for the Preston job after an impressive spell at the Imps. After taking over from the Cowley brothers in September 2019, Appleton guided them to a solid 16th place finish for their first season in the division. But this season, the Imps have kicked on once again and currently find themselves fourth in League One and comfortably sat in the play-offs.

Appleton has impressed in both his stints in League One, with Lincoln now, and Oxford United during a three-year spell between 2014-17. In fact, the 45-year-old has amassed the same points per game tally (1.61) at both clubs. However, despite boasting a consistent record in League 1, the jury is still out on his ability to manage at a higher level. His time in the Championship has been anything but fruitful, with spells at both Blackburn Rovers and Blackpool lasting a combined 130 days.

Despite currently doing an outstanding job at Lincoln this season, the Imps are 4 games without a win, so if the opportunity from Preston comes calling, Appleton may feel the need to jump ship with a place in the play-offs on the line. Appleton is currently priced at 8/1 to take the reigns at Deepdale.

Grant McCann

Hull City manager Grant McCann is another man that is being touted as another potential candidate to take over at Deepdale. The 40-year-old took Hull down last season, but it looks like he could get the club promoted at the first time of asking, with the Tigers sat at the top of the League One table.

McCann has had stints at both Peterborough and Doncaster before taking over at Hull and has clocked up a consistent, if not spectacular managerial record in League One with a win percentage of 42%. However, with a Championship relegation on his CV, there are still question marks over his ability to manage at that level.

Despite being linked with the job at Deepdale, the Tigers manager may want to see out the job at the KC Stadium with Hull being top. However, if the opportunity does arise, with Hull City having noticeable issues off the pitch, he may feel it is a good opportunity to move to a better-run club, leaving him at 9/1 for the job.

Daniel Stendel

The first manager on this list without a job currently is Daniel Stendel. The former Hannover 96, Barnsley, and Hearts manager has been without a job since leaving Tynecastle Park last summer.

Stendel had a tough time up in Scotland, but his time in Yorkshire with Barnsley was largely impressive, with the club achieving promotion to the Championship under his stewardship and racking up a solid record of 1.70 points per game in 66 games in charge at Oakwell.

With Stendel currently being out of work, he would surely jump at the opportunity to have another crack at the Championship again. At a price of 10/1, he could be a solid bet with Preston having to pay no compensation. 

Derek McInnes

The final name on this list is recently sacked Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes who left his role at the Pittodrie Stadium on the 8th of March after 8 years in charge. The Scotsman boasts an impressive managerial record up in Scotland, with 202 wins in 377 games, which is a win percentage of 53%.

The 49-year-old has also claimed silverware in his managerial career with a Scottish Cup win in the 2013/14 season. To add to that, he has also managed a promotion campaign with St Johnstone in 2008/09.

Despite having an average record in a short 15-month stint at Bristol City between 2011 and 2013, McInnes would likely jump at the chance to return South of the border and have a crack at the English game again. Mcinnes is priced at 10/1 to replace fellow Scotsman Alex Neil at Deepdale.

By Harry Charlwood