PRESTON Athletic managers Paul Riley and Jack Lynch are willing to dip into their contacts book in a bid to help their new side.

The co-managers replaced Craig Nisbet in the Pennypit dugout after the Panners were thrashed 7-1 by East Stirlingshire earlier this month.

They took charge for the first time as the Lowland League basement side recorded a first win of 2017 by beating Selkirk last weekend, but were unable to prevent a 24th league defeat of the campaign as they were thrashed by Edinburgh University on Saturday.

Preston finish the season bottom of the Lowland League, and Riley and Lynch are already drawing up a plan for next season, despite not knowing what league their side will play in.

The Panners may be spared relegation to the East of Scotland League if no side meets the promotion criteria.

Riley and Lynch have drawn up plans for both the Lowland League and the East of Scotland League in a bid to get the Panners firing on all cylinders.

Lynch told Courier Sport: “Our problem is not knowing if it will be the Lowland League or the East of Scotland League.

“We are looking at the worst case scenario and looking at the East of Scotland League.

“It will not matter if it was East of Scotland or Lowland League, we will target the same players.”

Lynch, who works as a painter and decorator outside of football, heaped praise on his co-manager and is hopeful the pair can turn round Preston’s fortunes.

He said: “Paul comes from a great background in football.

“He has worked with managers like Alex Miller, Dick Campbell and Jim Leishman and I was at Aston Villa and worked under different managers.”

The duo can also call upon former Hibs and Hearts players, including current Cowdenbeath manager Gary Locke and Brechin City boss Darren Dods, as contacts.

Lynch added: “We are looking to get in touch with all these people and see if they have got a kid from the area who might not be good enough for them yet.”

Riley, who began his career at Easter Road before spells at Brechin City and Montrose, as well as Bonnyrigg Rose, spoke of putting together a side that the town could be proud of.

He said: “It is not just about the players or me – it is people from the area and behind the scenes. They will be there a long time more than myself or any of the players.”

Riley, who works for Parcelforce, said whatever league the club found itself in would bring about its own set of challenges.

Relegation would likely put Preston among the favourites for the East of Scotland league title.

A second chance in the Lowland League would see them attempt to avoid the wooden spoon for a second year in a row.

Riley said: “The club has had a really difficult season and my job is to get confidence back into the players that will be there next year.

“If it is the East of Scotland league, then, it is promotion all the way.

“That is the challenge next season – we go from relegated and not many wins to looking to win most weeks, if not every week.”