Ferguson joined Peterborough after a playing career that included spells at Manchester United, Wolves, Sparta Rotterdam - on loan - and Wrexham.
He left Wrexham to join Peterborough as a player-coach before taking over as manager and winning 73 of his 145 games in charge and leading them to two successive promotions, taking them from League Two to the Championship.
Reading expressed an interest in the Scot in the summer but he signed a new four-year contract at Peterborough in July after he was refused permission to speak to the Royals.
Since leaving Peterborough, Ferguson has been linked with several managerial posts including the vacancy at Sheffield Wednesday.
He was also thought to be in the frame to replace Owen Coyle at Burnley when the Clarets boss completes his expected move to Bolton.
The man who Ferguson replaces 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.
Preston made a steady start to the season under Irvine as they earned 18 points from their opening nine games.
But a run of two wins in their following 14 games resulted in the club dropping to 16th in the Championship and sealed Irvine's fate.
This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.