Alex Neil
WEST BROMWICH, ENGLAND - APRIL 13: Preston North End manager Alex Neil takes his place in the dugout during the Sky Bet Championship match between West Bromwich Albion and Preston North End at The Hawthorns on April 13, 2019 in West Bromwich, England. (Photo by Stephen White - CameraSport via Getty Images)

What a difference a day makes. All of the pre-match build-up for the Championship clash between West Bromwich Albion and Preston North End surrounded Preston Manager Alex Neil. The Scot looked to be standing in the technical area of his soon to be former team as they visited the home of his future employers. However, just 24 hours later Neil had committed to a future at Deepdale, penning a new three-year contract with Preston. Leaving West Bromwich Albion on the hunt for a new top target that will wait until the summer with James Shan remaining at the helm until then.

West Bromwich Albion Now Have Clarity After Alex Neil U-Turn

Alex Neil U-Turn

Preston North End boss Alex Neil was understood to be West Bromwich Albion’s first choice to spearhead the final weeks of their promotion push. It appeared to everyone concerned that his final game in charge of Preston would be against his future employers at The Hawthorns. Where Dwight Gayle’s hat-trick for the Baggies all but ended Preston’s fading top-six hopes as Albion ran out 4-1 winners.

Alex Neil blamed the speculation surrounding his future for his side’s heavy defeat to the Midlands club and evaded any line of questioning that directly linked him to the vacant West Brom position whilst still refusing to completely rule out the switch. Both parties maintain that no official approach had been made for Alex Neil by West Bromwich Albion, though Preston were braced for one.

All speculation linking Neil to the Baggies was definitively put to bed on Sunday morning as Preston announced that Neil had committed his future to the club with a new three-year deal agreed. An announcement that came seemingly out of the blue, leaving both sets of fans perplexed and West Brom with a decision to make.

Clarity 

West Bromwich Albion desperately needed to find some kind of clarity on their season with the playoffs fast approaching. Alex Neil’s U-turn had left them once again steering a rudderless ship with no real plan going forward. They had been running the club on a day by day basis since Darren Moore’s dismissal last month and their wait and see approach was wearing thin with the fans.

West Brom announced on their club website that James Shan will continue his role of caretaker Head Coach until the close of the 2018/19 campaign in recognition of his efforts which have brought an average of two points per game in his six matches in charge. Shan will add to his coaching team later this week with Craig Shakespeare and Michael Appleton both mentioned as potential candidates.

So their recent announcement that James Shan will remain in charge until the summer has restored some semblance of clarity to the Albion faithful. Shan has overseen the last six games, winning four, under a cloud of uncertainty but can now focus on West Brom’s playoff aspirations knowing that he will be the man at the helm.

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