Sir Alex Ferguson has exacted some form of family revenge on Preston North End by calling back Manchester United's loanees from the club that sacked his son Darren this week.
United youngsters Joshua King and Ritchie de Laet have been recalled from Deepdale with immediate effect while a request has also been put in for Preston to release Matty James "as soon as possible".
Preston chairman Maurice Lindsay said: "It's come as a shock to us and a big blow. Ritchie and Joshua won't be available because we got a message from Manchester United that they've been summoned back immediately. They would like Matty back as well but his contract is a little different."
Championship cellar-dwellers Preston removed Darren Ferguson on Wednesday, elevating coach David Unsworth to the manager's position as a short-term solution.
"What a baptism of fire for David Unsworth, to be told within half-an-hour in the job that two or three of your best players have been summoned back," Lindsay said.
"I was hoping this would never occur but when we're approaching the new year bottom of the league and with the future of the club itself in serious jeopardy if we are relegated, there clearly had to be some soul-searching and we had to tell Darren that for the sake of the club we needed a new manager. I went to his house for the sad task of talking to him and he was very dignified."
Regarding his son's sacking, Ferguson senior said: "It always seems to happen that managers lose their jobs at this time of year. Darren will be alright. He will get over it. He is not the first to have this happen to him and the experience will serve him well."