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Bad news for Preston's Irish contingent? Boss Grayson takes over at Sunderland

Sean Maguire is set to join five other Irishmen at Preston next month.

Grayson is the second-longest serving manager in the Championship.
Grayson is the second-longest serving manager in the Championship.
Image: Dave Howarth

Updated at 19.51

SIMON GRAYSON HAS been announced as the new Sunderland boss, after Preston confirmed this evening that the manager has agreed to take over at the Stadium of Light.

The 47-year-old had been in charge of Preston since 2013, guiding them back to the Championship in 2015, and he has since consolidated the club’s position in the second tier with back-to-back 11th-place finishes.

Sunderland have replaced David Moyes, who resigned following the Black Cats’ Premier League relegation last term. Grayson’s switch could potentially be bad news for the five Irish players currently on the books at Preston.

Greg Cunningham, Alan Browne, Eoin Doyle, Andy Boyle and Daryl Horgan were all brought to Deepdale by Grayson, while Sean Maguire recently signed for the Lancashire club from Cork City.

“Preston North End can confirm they have been informed by Sunderland Football Club that Simon Grayson has agreed to take up the vacant manager’s position at the Stadium of Light,” a club statement read this evening.

Simon will be joined at the Black Cats by his assistant at Deepdale Glynn Snodin, with the Wearside club paying the contracted compensation for both men to the Lilywhites.

“The club would like to place on record its thanks to Simon and Glynn for their hard work and service over the past four years, taking the team back into the Championship and then leading them to two top half finishes.

The club will now begin the search for a new manager to take the club forward and achieve its stated ambition of getting to the Premier League.

“Current first team coach Steve Thompson will continue to look after first team affairs whilst this process in undertaken.”

Preston North End v Reading - Sky Bet Championship - Deepdale Andy Boyle is one of three players to make the move over to Preston from the LOI. Source: PA Archive/PA Images

Grayson was the 10th longest-serving manager in English football’s four divisions and was the second-longest in the Championship, only behind Ipswich boss Mick McCarthy.

The developments could cause some concern among the Irish contingent at Preston with the likes of Boyle, Horgan and Maguire — who joins at the end of July — no doubt keen to have seen him stay.

There is also speculation that Cork defender Kevin O’Connor will follow his team-mate across the water and put pen-to-paper on a deal with Preston ahead of the 2017/18 season.

Grayson had been the bookmakers’ favourites to take over from Moyes at the Stadium of Light with Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes recently turning down Sunderland’s approach.

Additional reporting by Paul Fennessy

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