Frankie McAvoy’s half-time demands played a part in Preston’s draw at Stoke City

Frankie McAvoy admitted he had to ‘lose his rag’ during half-time to get Preston on the right track against Stoke.

Monday, 19th April 2021, 8:00 am

The Lilywhites secured a goalless draw at the bet365 Stadium to inch closer to Championship safety.

But in the first half they had very much been on the back foot, offering nothing going forward.

The interim head coach’s stern words worked to the extent that North End carried more of a threat.

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PNE skipper Alan Browne is challenged by Harry Souttar which brought the Stoke defender a red card

Andrew Hughes hit the post with a free-kick in the second half and Alan Browne got clear on goal with three minutes left only to be tripped by Harry Souttar which earned the Potters centre-half a red card.

McAvoy said: “I’m honest with the lads as a group and I what I don’t want to do is lose my rag at half-time but that is something I had to do during this one. Hopefully there won’t be many times when I have to do that.”

Bearing in mind that they needed a bit of a rocket, McAvoy wasn’t unhappy with the point collected, although felt their second-half play could have merited victory.

The clean sheet pleased him, it coming just a week after conceding five against Brentford.

McAvoy said: “It’s great when you don’t concede, it’s great for the defence and the group as a whole.

“Coming off the back of that defeat last week, it was important to get something from this game for morale.

“The intention from us was to be as positive for the whole game as we were in the second half but obviously it didn’t work that way in the first half.

“The fact we lost heavily the previous week might have made an impact on their minds to start with.

“I understand that but the first half wasn’t good enough.”

To cover Liam Lindsay not being available, McAvoy put Sepp van den Berg in the back three next to Jordan Storey and Hughes.

The Dutch teenager came to PNE on loan as a central defender but had in the main been used at right-back and as a wing-back.

“I thought Sepp did well,” said McAvoy.

“There were a couple of times when I thought he was a bit over-eager trying to steal it on the front foot and their young boy Christian Norton pulled him in and dipped in behind him.

“Overall though, Sepp did fine and I was comfortable with the three boys we had at centre-back.”

McAvoy welcomed back Greg Cunningham and Sean Maguire from injury, Maguire named on the bench at the expense of Louis Moult.

“With Sean back I had to make a call and I just thought he was more match-ready than Louis who has been out a long time,” said McAvoy.

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