Frankie McAvoy's not a 'big name' but has been just what Preston North End needed

Frankie McAvoy says not being a ‘glamour name’ in football has not stopped him getting Preston North End back on track in the last month.

By Dave Seddon
Thursday, 22nd April 2021, 8:00 am

PNE have taken eight points from five games since McAvoy took the job of interim head coach at Deepdale.

The Scot has guided them to 52 points and away from what was looking like a relegation battle.

McAvoy took the caretaker post on March 21 in the wake of North End taking just one point from five games in the closing weeks of Alex Neil’s time in charge.

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Goalscorer Ched Evans with Greg Cunningham

He is second favourite to land the job full-time, Gareth Ainsworth still the man who the bookies fancy.

McAvoy said: “Everyone looks for a big glamour name don’t they? That is what tends to happen.

“When Peter Ridsdale asked whether I’d be willing to take the last eight games, I thought I’d have a go at it and see how it goes.

“Thankfully results have in the main gone our way but I didn’t feel that way sitting here after we lost 5-0 to Brentford.

“The guys have given me everything every day they come in, they train hard and work hard. I can’t ask for anymore.

“The fact I knew them helped bring continuity and I always believed we would do okay and start to climb the league table.”

PNE got their second win under McAvoy on Tuesday night, beating Derby 3-0 at Deepdale.

It was only their sixth home victory of the season, a low number which contributed to a drop down the table before recent results.

Reflecting on the past month at the helm, McAvoy said: “We were under pressure, let’s not be kidding ourselves.

“A lot of people I had met were saying, ‘Will we stay in the Championship or are we going to go down’?

“I just said whatever is going to happen, we are in control of.

“When you are in control of your own destiny, what we need to do is give everything we have got, be the best we can in training and on a matchday.

“I was pretty confident we would be fine but we needed the results to confirm that.

“We are not finished, we’ve got three games left and we want to get as high as we can.”

PNE’s goals against Derby came from Ben Whiteman, Ched Evans and Ryan Ledson.

Evans had a new partner up front in Tom Barkhuizen, with McAvoy having paired him with Emil Riis in the previous four games.

McAvoy said: “Ched has done remarkably well as the link striker.

“I thought putting Tom next to him would really stretch Derby. I was delighted for them both, they had very good games.”

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