The Non-League Football Paper

Andy Preece returns to management with National League side Southport

FORMER Bury, Worcester City, Northwich Victoria and Airbus UK boss Andy Preece has been tasked with guiding Southport away from relegation trouble after being unveiled as their new manager.

Preece becomes the Sandgrounders’ tenth boss since April 2013 and replaces Steve Burr who was sacked at the end of January.

Director and former Port boss Liam Watson oversaw Saturday’s 3-0 defeat at Gateshead but Preece has now been brought in as the long-term solution.

Preece, a former striker, guided Bury into the Division Three play-offs in 2003 in his first managerial job and has taken charge of almost 700 games in total.

He has also managed Worcester, Northwich – who he led to a famous FA Cup upset of Charlton Athletic – and Welsh Premier side Airbus.

In his four-and-half years in Wales, he took Airbus to new heights. In a division dominated by powerhouse TNS, finishing runners-up as a part-time club is a big achievement as he led the club into Europe.

Now he’ll be looking to get Southport climbing away from the National League relegation zone. They currently sit one point and one place above the bottom four ahead of Saturday’s visit of Dagenham & Redbridge.

A club statement read: “We are pleased to confirm the appointment of Andy Preece as the new Southport manager.

“Preece, a former Premier League striker at Crystal Palace, also played at Blackpool, Bury, Carlisle and Northampton in the Football League.

“Preece will be at the Merseyrail Community Stadium tonight (Wednesday) to see his new team in the Molson Coors Lancashire Senior Cup against Blackburn.”

In a recent interview with The NLP, Preece said: “You go and watch a game as a neutral, but it’s nice to be on the side where it really matters.

“I’m lucky I’m working in football with Fleetwood’s Academy and I’m working at Blackpool & Fylde college with a football team.

“But that actual Saturday, where it means something, it’s about the three points, the ball is going in the 18 yard box and your heart is in your mouth – that feeling is something I really miss.

“Why would you want to put yourself through that stress, why would you want to go back into it? But once you’ve been in it, it’s in your blood. It’s something that fires the juices. I feel it’s something I’m good at, and meant to be doing.”

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