Preston boss Frankie McAvoy was bitterly disappointed that his team could not earn the win over Derby for Trevor Hemmings' family
Frankie McAvoy has said sorry for Preston North End’s poor display on the day Deepdale remembered Lilywhites owner Trevor Hemmings.
PNE’s first-half performance in the 0-0 draw with Derby County was especially poor, the visitors enjoying a 71% share of the ball in the opening 45 minutes.
Things improved slightly later in the second half with the introduction of substitutes Scott SInclair and Ben Whiteman, the arrival of Josh Murphy as the third change seeing a switch of formation to 4-2-3-1.
It was watched by a crowd of 18,092, North End having cut ticket prices to £5 so that as many fans as possible could join in with the tribute to Mr Hemmings who passed away last Monday.
PNE head coach McAvoy said: “I would like to say to everybody, to the Hemmings family I’m sorry we never got you the win, I was hoping we could have done. I was bitterly disappointed with the first-half performance.
“We have another game on Wednesday night at home and we need to prepare better, be ready to go from the kick-off, try and show everyone we are here to win as many games for Preston North End.
”We need to start getting ourselves up the table.
“We didn’t rise to the occasion, let’s not beat about the bush – it wasn’t good enough.
“I knew that, I could see it, I could feel it, I could sense it.
”We never got that feeling before kick-off. We asked them beforehand to go and pay a fitting tribute to Mr Hemmings, it was the least he deserved.
“For me, unfortunately, we didn’t do that in first half.
”Whether the occasion was too big for us, I don’t know but at the end of the day when the players cross that white line they are in control.
”Tactically we didn’t get it right if I’m honest, that was a big issue for us – especially against their back four.
“Derby allowed their two full-backs to get high up the park and they pinned our wing-backs in.”
It was a sixth draw in seven league games for North End ahead of a huge week in which they host Coventry City on Wednesday before the derby with Blackpool on Saturday.
The PNE faithful naturally want to see a win in midweek to boost confidence for the trip to Bloomfield Road.
Reflecting further on the Derby draw, McAvoy said: “We were trying to get instructions on, the wing-backs needed to get higher up the pitch, the outside centre-backs needed to be a bit more aggressive.
“Sometimes once the front players get punctured, it is a mentality thing that players sit in. We need to be brave.
“We lacked that bravery, particularly in the first half.
“This was another draw which is not what I wanted, we tried to burst it open later with two wide players up top next to Emil Riis.
“It didn’t work but I did think that when we brought Scotty and Ben on, we looked a bit more threatening.”
Support us and become a subscriber today. Enjoy unlimited access to local news, the latest football stories and new puzzles every day. With a digital subscription, you can see fewer ads, enjoy faster load times, and get access to exclusive newsletters and content. Click here to subscribe.