Preston have terminated the contract of manager Darren Ferguson in a bid to retain their Championship status.
The 38-year-old son of Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson arrived at Deepdale in January this year having impressed at Peterborough. He has been unable to turn North End into promotion challengers, though, and leaves them rooted to the bottom of the table, five points adrift of safety.
Preston confirmed Ferguson's sacking in a statement that read: "At a board meeting held on Wednesday the directors of Preston North End decided to terminate the position of Darren Ferguson as manager."
The statement continued: "The club expressed their appreciation of the efforts made by Darren but felt that the league position represented a significant threat to the club and it was felt that a change of manager might bring better fortune."
The Whites have picked up just five wins out of 22 outings so far this campaign and ended the year with a home defeat at the hands of Middlesbrough on Tuesday.
Ferguson had expressed his belief earlier on Wednesday that his team were capable of beating the drop with him at the helm, but the club's hierarchy took a different view.
The announcement means Ferguson has been sacked twice in his short managerial career so far, having surprisingly lost his job at Posh in November 2009.
That was after he guided the club to two successive promotions from League Two into the Championship.
Ferguson's Preston finished 17th last term, but his successor faces an uphill task in reaching that feat this time out.
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