Preston North End are on the lookout for a new manager following the departure of Alex Neil last weekend.
The Scot left his role as North End manager following a run of seven losses in 11 games, and the role of interim head coach was handed to his former assistant Frankie McEvoy.
He will have a chance to throw his name into the hat for the permanent head coach role, which is likely to be addressed at the end of the season, and the bookmaker markets have been very volatile in the last few days in regards to the vacancy.
Former Lilywhites player Gareth Ainsworth was favourite at one point, then Nicky Butt garnered strong support after departing Manchester United, and after a flurry of bets last night, Bristol Rovers manager Joey Barton now heads the market.
One name that is in and around the odds is Grant McCann, who is 6/4 to take over with certain bookmakers, and he even spoke about the job this past week, saying he had ‘no interest’ in speaking about any speculation.
There’s every chance the 40-year-old could be an ideal candidate for North End though – let’s look at the pros and cons to his potential appointment at Deepdale.
PRO: Attacking football
Hull were doing pretty well in the Championship last season in mid-table – until McCann lost Jarrod Bowen and Kamil Grosicki in the January transfer window and things collapsed around him.
The two wingers scored a lot of goals and failure to replace them cost Hull dearly as they fell down into League One, but the Northern Irish manager committed to an attacking style this season and it’s paying off.
The Tigers currently sit top of the league and they have scored the second-most goals behind Peterborough with 63, with the likes of Mallik Wilks, Josh Magennis and Keane Lewis-Potter all contributing.
With the football being served up by Alex Neil recently at Deepdale being not very entertaining, McCann could potentially bring that back.
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CON: Relegated with Hull last season
Whilst it wasn’t all his own fault, McCann has to be a contributing factor to Hull falling off last season and into the relegation zone.
It never helps when your two star players are sold, but no team should just collapse from within like the Tigers did.
That relegation, as well as the 8-0 stuffing by Wigan Athletic, will always be a blot on McCann’s copybook and that will probably still haunt him for a while – it’s probably one of the things that’s also in the minds of PNE fans as well when they see McCann being linked.
PRO: Wouldn’t be expensive
McCann is contracted to Hull until the summer of 2022 – and that means compensation to prize him from the Tigers wouldn’t be astronomical.
North End owner Trevor Hemmings will probably have to pay some money for a new head coach as most of the decent ones are in work, but it’ll be a lot less than what it will have taken to pay off Alex Neil, with The Athletic reporting that the Scotsman was on a £1 million-per year contract.
McCann has said he’s happy where he is right now, but if Hull’s results go awry for the rest of the season and they don’t get promoted, he’d surely be tempted by a Championship job that offers good security.
CON: Has divided the Hull fanbase
During the last few months of his reign, or perhaps even longer, Neil has split the PNE supporters down the middle – some believed he was doing his best with being dealt a bad hand following the sale of key players in January, whilst others have not been a fan of his football for some time.
The same can be said of McCann, who hasn’t won over some of the Hull supporters, especially following relegation to League One.
In an article penned just a month ago, a local Hull reporter penned concerns about McCann from a fans point of view that he was struggling to admit that performances weren’t up to standard, and following a loss to Ipswich Town last month, 91% of 2,000 Hull fans voted for the manager to leave in a created poll, per the Hull Daily Mail.
So that would be concerning to PNE fans if McCann is a genuine target and many would probably have other ideas about an ideal target.