Darren Ferguson is on my list of possible managers insists Preston chairman

Preston chairman Derek Shaw today insisted he would be 'foolish' not to consider Darren Ferguson as a potential successor to sacked boss Alan Irvine.

Darren Ferguson

Ready if needed: Darren Ferguson

Irvine, 51, was surprisingly shown the door yesterday despite saving the Lancashire outfit from relegation in 2007/08 and guiding them into the play-offs last season.

Shaw is now focused on finding a successor and admits the highly-rated Ferguson - currently a free agent after leaving Peterborough in November - is on his radar.

Shaw said: 'I have received literally dozens and dozens of phone calls from people in and outside of the game expressing an interest in the job.

'We will look at all our options very carefully and then go through the formal application and interview process.

'There's a few experienced managers out of work at the moment and there's one or two up and coming managers that we know about as well.'

Asked if Ferguson fell within that latter group, Shaw replied: 'Yes, of course. Darren Ferguson did a fantastic job at Peterborough so he's obviously in the frame.

Alan Irvine

Sacked: Alan Irvine

'We would be foolish not to consider him but there are several quality candidates out there and we've not spoken to anybody just yet.'

Ferguson is likely to favour the vacant managerial position at Bolton after Gary Megson was unseated today. Paul Jewell, Steve Cotterill and Jim Gannon would then lead the race to succeed Irvine at Deepdale.

Shaw added: 'We'll go about our business quietly and efficiently because all the publicity surrounding Darren Ferguson when he left Peterborough was like an episode of the Muppet Show.'

Shaw, whose decision to axe Irvine has attracted criticism from Preston fans, has placed Rob Kelly in caretaker charge ahead of this weekend's FA Cup tie at home to Colchester.