The 37-year-old has been a free agent since leaving Peterborough in November and now he appears to be on the brink of replacing Alan Irvine at Deepdale.

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

Lilywhites chairman Derek Shaw yesterday revealed Ferguson heads a shortlist of five candidates.

Shaw told Sky Sports News: "Darren Ferguson has excellent credentials and we would be silly not to want to see him.

"We have spoken to representatives of a couple of the other (targets) and we want to get this decision right and we want it sooner rather than later."