Frankie McAvoy says Preston North End players are ready to honour memory of Lilywhites’ owner Trevor Hemmings

Frankie McAvoy says Preston North End getting back to winning ways would be the best tribute to Trevor Hemmings.

By Dave Seddon
Friday, 15th October 2021, 8:00 am

The Lilywhites play host to Derby County tomorrow, an occasion when fans will come together for the first time since the PNE owner died on Monday night.

Deepdale will be rocking, with ticket prices cut to just £5 and all gate receipts donated to charity.

There have been multiple instances of supporters buying tickets and donating them for use by those who don’t often get the chance to go to matches.

Deepdale head coach Frankie McAvoy says it has been a difficult week for everyone at the club

On the pitch, North End will set about finding their form again after a nine-game unbeaten run in league and cup came to a finish at QPR before the international break.

That run included five draws on the bounce and it is wins which PNE need to climb the Championship table.

The squad were gathered together in the wake of Mr Hemmings’ passing for a rallying call – the message from his family being ‘business as usual’ in a bid to collect three points.

North End head coach McAvoy said: “Peter Ridsdale spoke to the players the morning after, that was very important.

“We are a family club, you can see the togetherness and that is great.

“Peter delivered a message that the Hemmings family wanted us to hear.

“It’s a sad time and a difficult time but let’s go out and do the business. It’s business as usual, we need to do the best for Preston North End and win the game.”

McAvoy’s last meeting with the owner was as recently as Wednesday of last week.

He flew over from the Isle of Man and was due another visit to the Euxton training ground this week.

Said McAvoy: “I met with him and Craig Hemmings, he was here in the international break.

“He was looking at the players’ names on the board in the office and talking about their strengths.

“Mr Hemmings loved to see the players and the players loved to see him.

“Some of us here are passing through, for some people this is their life. This was his love, as was his love of the horse racing.”

On the selection front for Derby’s visit, Patrick Bauer and Andrew Hughes will be available after injury.

Sean Maguire was due to start training yesterday after injuring his hamstring against QPR a week last Saturday.

It might be that this game comes too soon, with the busy schedule over the next three weeks to bear in mind.

An ankle injury will keep Ali McCann out but it is not a long-term issue.