Preston boss Frankie McAvoy will put friendship to one side with Swansea boss Russell Martin
Frankie McAvoy knows exactly who he’s dealing with this afternoon as his Preston North End side welcome Russell Martin’s Swansea City.
Martin played under the PNE boss at Norwich City when he was assistant to Alex Neil.
They oversaw a turnaround at Carrow Road which shot the Canaries into the Premier League via the play-offs.
Martin, a former full back who spent nine years at Norwich, is still in contact with McAvoy.
It’s no surprise to McAvoy that the 35-year-old went into coaching after the end of his playing career but the friendship will be put to one side for 90 minutes this weekend.
He said: “There was never any shadow of a doubt about him becoming a coach, he was a leader, he was a captain.
“He was our captain when we won the play-offs to get to the Premier League.
“He’s an excellent role model, he was an excellent leader on and off the pitch.
“He always had the ingredients to become a top coach.
“He’s learned his trade and got the chance to take the job at MK Dons.
“We text back and forward quite a bit, I wished him all the best when he got the Swansea job.
“When he was at MK Dons last season he was looking to use Springfields as well when he was up here playing, so I’ve got a good relationship with him.
“He’s a nice lad, but I can’t be too nice because he’s the enemy on Saturday!”
North End go into this afternoon’s game looking for their third win in a week and their second on the bounce in the league.
Martin has got Swansea playing a possession-based style but the North End head coach knows how his side can do damage to the opposition.
He said: “They look to move the ball, they’re possession based and I think they’re first in the league on that at the moment.
“They try to play through the thirds and they’re excellent. They’re a joy to watch to be honest.
“Russell was that type when we were at Norwich, he always wanted to get the ball and play, in a short space of time you can see that is his pattern and stamp he’s trying to put on Swansea.
“It’ll be a tough game, they can move it and they can play, they can try and create overloads.
“They play with two No.10s and sometimes change it to a 3-5-2 but it will be similar to the Peterborough United game in that the No.10’s can cause you issues if they find space in the pockets.
“We need to concentrate too on where we think we can hurt them most. I’ve got faith in our players that if we can nick it high up the pitch, we can cause them real issues.”
“At the same time we have players behind the front players that can play penetrating passes that can hopefully cause them issues."
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