Paul Gallagher has impressed as part of Preston North End’s coaching team

Frankie McAvoy has enjoyed having Paul Gallagher by his side in the technical area and thinks the Preston midfielder has a bright coaching future.

Thursday, 29th April 2021, 8:00 am

Gallagher stepped up to officially join the coaching staff when McAvoy got the interim head coach role almost six weeks ago.

The 36-year-old had done stints as a coach before that at first-team level, and coached the Under-16s at PNE’s academy.

So the last few weeks have been something of a natural step up for Gallagher.

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Paul Gallagher gives instructions from the touchline

“Don’t forget that Gally was coaching when I was suffering from Covid earlier in the season,” McAvoy told the Lancashire Post.

“He came into the fold then to assist Alex Neil and Steve Thompson.

“Gally was excellent then and has been excellent since we were given this chance for the last eight games.

“He has got a lot more hands free from me to go and coach on training days.

“On a matchday he has a great voice too.

“I can’t thank him enough, he’s been excellent. In my opinion he has a great future within the game.”

McAvoy has emphasised all the way through his tenure how his staff work as a team.

Gallagher, Thompson, goalkeeper coach Mike Pollitt and McAvoy have formed a close-knit unit

McAvoy does not put limits on aspects of the game which Gallagher can coach.

He said: “Gally like the rest of us does all areas. In terms of the defence, midfield, front players, he does the whole lot.

“He has got a wealth of experience from playing.

“I have said to him, ‘You know exactly what you are doing and how to get the best out of the players, the same as me, so go and do it, you’re Paul Gallagher’.

“Gally can put his own stamp and mark on it.

“I wouldn’t be good leader if I didn’t allow him to do that.

“He has the respect of the players, they see him day in, day out training. I can’t speak highly enough of him.

“Gally still gets involved in the training, he’s probably still one of the best out there!”

Gallagher’s playing contract runs out in June, begging the question what happens next on that front.

He has made eight starts and seven substitute appearances this season.

The midfielder has only been in the matchday squad once during McAvoy’s reign, as an unused sub in the 1-0 win at Swansea.

Gallagher last got on the pitch in Neil’s final game in charge against Luton, coming on as an 86th-minute sub.

McAvoy was giving little away with regards to Gallagher getting game time in one of PNE’s final two matches, focusing on the job of finishing as strongly as possible.