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New Preston Manager Alex Neil's Wes Hoolahan History Doesn't Fill Us With Confidence

New Preston Manager Alex Neil's Wes Hoolahan History Doesn't Fill Us With Confidence
By Mikey Traynor

Preston North End today confirmed that Alex Neil is the man to replace Simon Grayson as manager at Deepdale on a 12-month rolling contract.

The news comes days after Cork City's Kevin O'Connor was confirmed as a new signing for Preston, meaning that himself and Seanie Maguire will join an already strong Irish contingent at the club, but as most of them were signed by the previous manager, it's left us feeling a little uneasy.

Particularly because of Neil's history with Wes Hoolahan, where his decision to freeze the Irishman out of the picture at Carrow Road and ask for him to be sold is believed to have played a big factor in his sacking, as we reported back in April.

According to The Sun's Charlie Wyett, it was not the performance of the team which ultimately led to Neil's sacking. Rather, it was disagreements with owner Delia Smith and the Norwich board.

Neil was apparently 'at loggerheads' with Smith and the board over rebuilding plans for this summer. One of the main points of contention, reports Wyett, was Wes Hoolahan. Neil insisted that the Irish international, who was given a new two-year deal by the club last summer, should be sold.

Now, we're not trying to brand Alex Neil as anti-Irish, that would be utterly ridiculous, but what he has proven is that he is a 'my way or the highway' manager, something that isn't exactly ideal for the situation that Maguire and O'Connor will find themselves in.

Simon Grayson showed a lot of faith in his League of Ireland signings Daryl Horgan and Andy Boyle in January of last year, as well as totally reigniting the form of Greg Cunningham and then Aiden McGeady, during his time in charge, so we were eagerly waiting to see who would be brought in.

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Neil's opening statement is encouraging, as he expressed his desire to give every player a chance to impress.

However, after what he tried to pull with Wesso, who is more than just a player at Norwich, we're approaching this with caution.

Hopefully, Maguire and O'Connor can make a good impression, along with Horgan and Boyle who will be starting from scratch in terms of earning the manager's trust, and we see them all feature regularly for Preston next season.

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Are we a tad selfish to want Preston to put the development of Irish footballers ahead of everything else?

Yes. Yes we are. In an ideal world they would have appointed Brian Kerr.

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