Irvine axed by struggling Preston

The former Everton assistant boss has won many admirers since being

appointed at Deepdale in November 2007 and they claimed a top-six

finish last season. Yet the Lancashire outfit have struggled badly

in recent weeks and chairman Derek Shaw decided to swing the axe

after Monday’s 1-0 loss at Sheffield United left North End with

just one win in their last 10 league outings and in 16th place.

Shaw said: “The decision was not taken lightly. Alan did an

extremely good job in keeping us in the Championship and took us to

the play-offs last season. “However, after a good start to the

2009/10 campaign we have only picked up seven points from a

possible 30 since our last away victory against Sheffield Wednesday

on October 20. “In that period we have only scored six goals and

that sort of record is not something we could allow to continue

without addressing it.”