Preston have announced assistant manager Robert Kelly is to take temporary charge of the Coca-Cola Championship club following the sacking of Alan Irvine.

The Lilywhites announced the sacking of Irvine on Tuesday, little more than six months after the Scot guided the team to the play-offs.

However, the Lancashire club have struggled badly in recent weeks and Monday's defeat by Sheffield United left them in 16th with just seven wins all season.

The club announced on Tuesday evening that Kelly would be in charge until a permanent replacement for Irvine is installed.

Chairman Derek Shaw told the club's official website, www.pnefc.net: "After discussions with Robert Kelly, he has agreed to take charge of training from tomorrow (Wednesday) and will be in charge until any further announcements are made.

"He will be selecting the side for Saturday's game against Colchester United."

Kelly has had coaching spells at Wolves, Blackburn, Watford and Leicester where he was initially caretaker boss before being given the job on a full-time basis in 2006.

However, he was released in April 2007 before moving to Preston as assistant to manager Paul Simpson.

When Simpson was released in November that year Kelly stepped in as caretaker manager, reverting to the role of assistant boss when Irvine was appointed days later.

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