Focus on Preston North End head coach Frankie McAvoy in the build-up to the Championship kick-off

Frankie McAvoy has his first Championship outing as Preston North End head coach when Hull City visit Deepdale today.

By Dave Seddon
Saturday, 7th August 2021, 8:00 am

For eight games at the end of last season he had ‘interim’ in the job title but PNE taking 17 points from the 24 available landed the Scot the job full-time.

Profile-wise, McAvoy will admit that he is not high up the list of ‘names’ in the division.

That matters little to the 54-year-old who will be hoping this season goes as well as his audition did in the closing weeks of the last campaign.

Preston North End head coach Frankie McAvoy

It was in March that the Lilywhites called time on Alex Neil’s 42 months in the job and asked his No.2 McAvoy to step up.

He gave it some thought, after all McAvoy had been with Neil at Hamilton Academical, Norwich and then North End.

A gamble is how McAvoy describes his decision to accept the job and it is a gamble he’s happy he took.

McAvoy told the Lancashire Post: “We all have different stories in life, you never know where it is going to take you.

“If I hadn’t have taken the job with eight games to go last season, who knows who would have been sitting here talking to you now.

“Thankfully I took that chance and it turned out well. An opportunity like this might never have come around again. Life is about taking risks sometimes. You never know what might get thrust at you, we all have our personal issues and positive things that happen.

“How everyone deals with those things is different.

“I took a gamble taking the job to start with as I’d been with Alex for a long time.

“It could have gone the other way but thankfully it went in a positive way – the way I hoped it would go.

“I’m delighted with that and I’m delighted to get the opportunity to be head coach of Preston North End.

“This is a fantastic club with fantastic people.

“Hopefully the players, myself and the backroom staff who work with me can produce a lot of positivity about the place.”

McAvoy places a lot of emphasis on how closely he works with his backroom team at North End.

Paul Gallagher and Steve Thompson are his first-team coaches, with goalkeeper coach Mike Pollitt providing years of experience in that department.

Coupled with the medical, sports science and analysts departments, there is a tight-knit group working behind the scenes to help McAvoy produce winning football.

McAvoy has had to cope with a pre-season which was good in parts but at times disrupted by a change of opponent or the weather.

Overall he has been happy with the build-up and the proof of the pudding will come with the eating in the opening stages of the season.

Said McAvoy: “I think we’ve had a good pre-season although it was interrupted in some ways, either by the weather of Covid.

“The pitch at Bamber Bridge flooded in July then the Manchester United friendly being called off was a kick where it hurts.

“We’ll be ready to go against Hull City and hopefully we can get off to a good start.

“The most exciting thing for the group here as a whole will be playing at Deepdale in front the supporters again, it’s been too long without them.

“With the United game being cancelled, the fans have had to wait that bit longer to come back but we are almost there.”

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