Irvine confirmed as new Wednesday manager

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Sheffield Wednesday have confirmed the appointment of Alan Irvine as their new manager just 10 days after the Scot was controversially sacked by Coca-Cola Championship rivals Preston.

The 51-year-old, who has signed a three-and-a-half-year contract, will take over at Hillsborough from Brian Laws, who parted company with the Owls "by mutual consent" on December 13. Academy coach Sean McAuley had been placed in temporary charge.

Irvine said: "I'm delighted to take up the position of manager at Sheffield Wednesday. It's a club with great traditions and a brilliant outlook for the future."

He added: "While the league table shows us that there is a lot of hard work in front of us between now and the end of the current season, it's a challenge I'm relishing and I believe the squad here at Hillsborough is more than capable of pulling away from the current situation at the bottom of the Championship.

"Sheffield Wednesday has made excellent progress off the pitch in the past 12 months and it is now my job to make sure that progress is mirrored on the pitch.

"I'm really looking forward to starting work with the players and I can't wait to get out on the training pitch to start preparing for the vital matches we have coming up this month."

Wednesday, still saddled with debts of around £26million, face a relegation battle after a run of 11 league games without a win has seen them slide to second bottom in the table. Laws departed soon after last month's 3-0 defeat at Leicester, ending a three-year spell at the club.

Owls chairman Lee Strafford said: "It was essential for us to secure the best possible candidate to revive the team's fortunes this season but, more importantly, in the long term.

"Alan Irvine brings genuine coaching pedigree to Hillsborough following several years Premier League experience as David Moyes' assistant at Everton and an impressive record in charge at Preston.

"He's a high-calibre manager, respected throughout football, who has proved he can make a team competitive at this level, and we feel very fortunate to have secured his services."

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