Sportsmail revealed how Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson reacted furiously to his son's dismissal by demanding the recall of loanees Ritchie de Laet, Josh King and Matty James.
Abandon ship: Pugh (left) and Tonge are set to return to Stoke from Preston
Now shellshocked caretaker boss David Unsworth has had his Preston squad further depleted after Ferguson's close friend Tony Pulis ordered on-loan pair Michael Tonge and Danny Pugh back to Stoke.
Midfielders Tonge and Pugh had played key roles for Preston, since arriving at Deepdale in the middle of November, and only recently agreedto extend their stay until January 16.
But both have had their loan spell cut short after Stoke boss Pulis intervened and followed Ferguson's lead in recalling them early.
This way, gentlemen: Stoke boss Pulis wants his players back early
Tonge and Pugh are both Manchester-born and both launched their careers at Old Trafford before being released by Ferguson.
Tonge, once atarget for Liverpool during his Sheffield United days, is a highly skilled attacking midfielder, while Pugh's contract at Stoke was extended to 2013 shortly before Christmas.
After losing his Old Trafford trio, just as he was planning to involve them in the Bank Holiday double header against Derby and CrystalPalace, temporary boss Unsworth now has his work cut out, trying to steer Preston away from the foot of the npower Championship, in the wakeof his latest stunning setback.
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Explore more:People: Alex Ferguson, Tony Pulis, David Unsworth, Darren Ferguson, Danny Pugh Places: Liverpool, Manchester