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A LONG search for a new job has ended for former Airbus UK Broughton director of football Andy Preece, who has been appointed manager of Southport in the National League.

The former Premier League striker parted company with the Wingmakers three days before the start of this season and is delighted to be back in football: "I’ve got a fantastic opportunity at a well-run club that I have known for many years," says Preece, who takes over from the sacked Steve Burr with the Sandgrounders struggling in 20th-place.

"My first match in charge of Worcester was against Southport. I am really looking forward to the challenge. I’ve been in this situation before taking over a club and I expect to succeed. Yes, lots of hard work ahead on and off the pitch with 15 games to go. It is a big job. I have no fears and expect us to be moving forward. It is a great opportunity to be the manager of Southport Football Club."

Preece first made his mark as a player with Wrexham and Stockport County, before joining Crystal Palace, Blackpool, Bury and Carlisle United. He managed at Bury, Worcester City and Northwich Victoria before joining Airbus in January 2012.

The 49-year-old managed the Wingmakers to two runners-up spots and three appearances in the Europa League, as well as last season's Welsh Cup final.