TOWN'S new League I rivals Carlisle are to lose their promotion-winning boss Paul Simpson to Preston.

The 39-year-old was today expected to be unveiled as successor to Billy Davies, who has swapped North End for their fellow Championship contenders Derby.

Simpson, the former Manchester City winger who also played for Rochdale, Blackpool and Walsall, is tipped to sign a three-year deal at Deepdale.

He had led Carlisle to successive promotions after they fell into the Conference, with former Town defender Kevin Gray a mainstay.

The Cumbrians said in a club statement: "The board are very sorry to lose Paul, but we are very grateful for the part he has played in the club's progress.

"Negotiations between all parties have been amicable, and we wish Paul well.

"We are now recognised as a solid, successful and ambitious club and we are confident we will appoint a manager who will help us realise our potential."

Carlisle are the second League II promotion winner to lose their manager after Colin Calderwood left Northampton for Nottingham Forest.

The Cobblers moved quickly to appoint former Wycombe chief John Gorman, who was part of Glenn Hoddle's England set-up.