It’s been just over a week since Preston decided to bring an end to Alex Neil’s tenure at the club.
Frankie McAvoy was instantly upgraded into the position of interim Head Coach - supported by Steve Thompson, Mike Pollitt and Paul Gallagher - and will remain at the helm until the end of the season.
With eight games to go McAvoy - Neil’s former assistant at Hamilton, Norwich and now Preston - is currently a 20/1 outsider for the permanent post but given that he’s the man currently in the dugout he has an ideal opportunity to showcase his own credentials as a No.1, starting on Friday against leaders Norwich.
“At the end of the day I might not be everyone’s cup of tea in terms of choice but the one thing I can assure you is that I will give it everything I have got – with the help of the people behind me – to get the best out of these players,” McAvoy told the Lancashire Post last week.
While the interim boss has every chance to make a statement, there is an expectation that Preston will look to bring in an external candidate as they bid to make a first managerial appointment since the summer of 2017.
This could be in the form of an ex-player with Michael Appleton (25/1), Gareth Ainsworth (12/1) and Callum Davidson (16/1) all linked.
While fans are realistic enough to understand that given the club’s budget a challenge for promotion isn’t always going to be on the cards, what they crave is someone who will bring an element of excitement to Deepdale.
Basically, a manager who can come in and inject a dose of impetus, implement an attractive brand of football, and galvanise the fans.
Similar to what Valerien Ismael's doing at Barnsley.
It's harder said than done of course. Plymouth's Ryan Lowe (25/1) is an ambitious young manager who will want to continue on his upward managerial curve, while MK Dons boss Russell Martin and Cheltenham’s Michael Duff (25/1) could fit the above criteria.
Formerly at Fleetwood, Joey Barton only took the Bristol Rovers job last month
Nicky Butt, who is seeking a new opportunity after leaving his post at Man Utd, shot into the odds-on favourite last week - he's now 10/1 - before Joey Barton catapulted out of nowhere to lead the way.
Barton’s sudden presence in the betting certainly came as a surprise. Not only is he a former Burnley player, but the ex-Fleetwood boss has only recently taken charge of Bristol Rovers; just five weeks ago in fact.
It’s been a tough start to life at The Gas, with Barton losing seven of his 10 games to date, which has seen the club sink down to 23rd; two points adrift of safety.
At the time of writing, it appears that there’s no substance in Barton’s abrupt move to the summit of the Preston market, even if Barton (7/4) does suffer the drop he’s signed a contract until 2023 and looks totally invested in the project he’s undertaken at Bristol Rovers. However, the lure of the Championship could change that.
Barton has since been replaced at the top of the market by fellow League One manager Grant McCann (6/4), who is currently bidding to lead Hull to an instant return to the Championship, having suffered relegation last season.
The Tigers top League One with eight games to go, although the battle for automatic promotion is likely to go down to the wire, given that only three points separate 1st from 3rd.
McCann, who has come under-pressure throughout his Hull tenure, is under contract until 2022. While a move right now looks out-of-the-question given the circumstances, the summer could be a different story.
Yet his record in the Championship is unlikely to inspire many Preston fans (12 wins, nine draws and 25 defeats) - losing the likes of Jarrod Bowen and Kamil Grosicki mid-way through the season certainly didn’t help.
Meanwhile, the man himself has dismissed a move, for now.
“No,” he told the BBC when asked if there was anything behind his move to the top of the market. “Absolutely no idea. I’ve got no interest in speaking about speculation, I’m very happy here,” he said.
In terms of unemployed managers, Derek McInnes (20/1), Neil Harris (25/1), and Mark Hughes (25/1) all still feature in the betting, while the full list of candidates can be found below.