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Ferguson Jnr: Preston are the right club for me... just ask Sir Alex!
Published : 07 Jan 2010 11:49:49
Darren Ferguson signed on as Preston boss aiming to join his father Sir Alex in the Premier League. Ferguson followed the advice of the Manchester United manager in rejecting interest from Sheffield Wednesday to take over from Alan Irvine at Preston. He felt the Deepdale club had a better shot at promotion. Writing on the wall: Ferguson is expecting a lengthy Preston reign Despite sitting in 16th place in the Championship, Preston are only eight points adrift of the top six with a game in hand. Ferguson said: 'I spoke to my father and he knows the club well. It would have been wrong not to ask his advice. 'We agreed this was the right one for me. There were other options but we felt this was the best place for me. 'Now the challenge is play-off football. This is the 10th year we have been in the Championship. We have hit the bar a couple of times and the challenge is getting to the Premier League. 'You only have to look around this area and Bolton and Blackburn are there. Burnley have to be a benchmark. They achieved promotion last year and we want to follow that.' Ferguson, sacked by the division's bottom club Peterborough in November, has taken his former assistant Kevin Russell with him to Preston, where he becomes the fifth successive Scot in charge. Ferguson added: 'Preston have had many successful Scottish managers and I am keen to follow that trend. They got to the play-offs last season but this year things have not materialised in the same way. 'I am looking forward to working on that. I have had a couple of months' break to recharge the batteries and am ready to go. The key was finding the right club. Preston are well established with a good track record in the Championship. 'They are also a club that have given their managers time and that was a consideration for me.' Ferguson's first game in charge is Saturday's home clash with Doncaster, although the weather has put that game in doubt. But he is already eyeing the glamour FA Cup clash with Premier League leaders Chelsea on January 23, adding: 'My first home game could be Chelsea, so there's no pressure on me there then! It is a good game that is being covered by Sky and should be a full house, so that will be special.' Ferguson is hoping to hang on to Sean St Ledger despite fears Preston may need to sell the defender to ease their debts. St Ledger was due to sign for Middlesbrough for £4.5million but their manager Gordon Strachan pulled the plug on the deal last month. As Ferguson settled in at Preston, Burnley revealed their frustration at losing manager Owen Coyle to Bolton. Turf Moor chairman Barry Kilby is fuming at the way his club's rivals lured away the Scot but now accepts Coyle will leave as soon as a £3m compensation package is agreed. Kilby said: 'I fully expected Owen would go upwards from Burnley, not sideways to somebody we are fighting in a relegation scrap, so it was a surprise. It's come at a bad time. 'Going across to our rivals in the same league is not the best of things. I don't think we are best of pals (with Bolton) at the moment. It was an unwelcome approach. 'The budget was Owen's prime reason for leaving. He felt Bolton have a larger player budget than us and it was his best way of remaining in the Premier League.' Coach Steve Davis will be the caretaker manager at Burnley until a permanent replacement for Coyle is appointed. Steve Coppell, Mike Phelan and Paul Jewell are on the short-list.