Frankie McAvoy on why he KNOWS it’s more than just three points at stake when Preston North End face Blackpool

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Frankie McAvoy will have the words of a former colleague in his head when Preston North End renew their rivalry with Blackpool tomorrow.

The sides meet for the first time in more than eight years, with the Lilywhites not having ventured to Bloomfield Road since 2009.

From McAvoy’s first day at the club in 2017, he was given a regular reminder of what the derby is all about.

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PNE’s head coach McAvoy said: “As this game has got closer I’ve not been able to get the words of our old kit man Steve Cowell out of my head.

Alan Browne made his 300th appearance for Preston North End in midweekAlan Browne made his 300th appearance for Preston North End in midweek
Alan Browne made his 300th appearance for Preston North End in midweek

“When Alex Neil and myself came here, Steve would always be telling us that this was the fifth biggest derby in the world!

“Steve has been a Preston fan all his life and we will be doing our utmost to win this game for the fans. It’s a game, it’s three points but we know the significance of it. Preston and Blackpool are only a few miles away from one another.

“I’m looking forward to it, we’ve sold out our allocation and we probably could have done so six times over.

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“That just shows the importance of the game to our supporters.

“On the pitch I’m just hoping calm heads and calm minds are there because sometimes people can get carried away.

“It’s important the players keep focused on the challenge ahead of us.”

North End got the boost of a first Championship win since August 28 when they beat Coventry City 2-1 on Wednesday night.

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That result should put more of a spring in their step as they journey down the M55 to meet Neil Critchely’s men who themselves were victors on Wednesday, winning 3-2 at Reading.

Patrick Bauer and Emil Riis scored PNE’s goals as they hit back from being 1-0 down at the interval. The game was a significant one for Alan Browne, with the club captain making his 300th appearance for PNE.

Browne will lead the team at Blackpool, McAvoy likely to be tempted to stick closely to the side which beat Coventry.

Ali McCann and Sean Maguire were due back in training yesterday having been injured at QPR before the international break.

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McCann’s recovery from an ankle injury is slightly ahead of schedule.

Said McAvoy: “Ali and Sean are both training. We had been hoping to get Sean back for the Coventry game but couldn’t.

“Ali is perhaps a bit ahead of where we thought so that is a nice boost.

“We will pick a team which we think gives us the best chance of winning.

“This is a chance for someone to be a hero, there’s nothing better than hearing fans singing the names of players.”