Wycombe Wanderers manager Gareth Ainsworth has once again spoke publicly about the vacant Preston North End head coach role after odds shortened on him to become the next man in charge at Deepdale.
The Lilywhites are without a permanent man at the helm following Alex Neil’s departure last month, and it looks like the club are waiting until the end of the season to make a decision on that front.
Neil’s former assistant Frankie McAvoy took caretaker charge after his dismissal, and he’s been able to gain 11 points out of a possible 18 to secure PNE’s position in the Championship for another season.
But there’s every chance the club could look towards an outside appointment and Ainsworth has always been one of the leading names when it comes to betting markets.
He did an incredible job to get Wycombe into the Championship and even though it looks like they’ll be back in League One next season, Ainsworth’s had his squad fighting until the end.
Despite being Blackburn-born and a product of the Rovers youth system, Ainsworth had three separate spells at North End as a player, making 92 league appearances and he’s still a fan favourite for his commitment to the cause, with some seeing him as the ideal candidate for the job.
Ainsworth was quizzed live on television about the shortening odds of his name to the role and his response was quite telling in the fact that he didn’t deny he was interested.
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“All I can say is I’m flattered to be linked with such a huge club,” Ainsworth told Sky Sports, per LancsLive.
“Preston (North End) were one of the founder members and what a history they’ve got, but again I’ll say that Wycombe is a fantastic club to be at and the diplomatic answer will have to stay I’m afraid.
“QPR, there has been links in the past and it is these ex-clubs that you really have that feeling for and that passion for.
“And yeah it would be, of course, who wouldn’t be interested in the Preston North End job?
“But at the moment I’m very happy as Wycombe Wanderers manager and like I say, two huge games to go and I really want us leave our mark in the Championship, if it’s time for us to leave.”
Of course Ainsworth has to be slightly diplomatic when he’s already got a job, but it definitely seemed like a ‘come and get me’ plea to North End owner Trevor Hemmings.
Some managers would have denied any interest in the role at all but it seems clear that PNE are a club that are close to Ainsworth’s heart, and with Wycombe probably heading back down to League One it would be a good career move for the 47-year-old to head to Deepdale.
That’s if of course North End are actually interested – there’s a lingering feeling for some fans though that Ainsworth could be the man to get the club firing again after a mostly disappointing 2020/21 campaign.