Preston North End head coach on why he’s a big fan of bringing back the reserve team

Frankie McAvoy has thrown his weight behind Preston North End’s decision to enter a reserve side in the Central League.
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PNE’s head coach has given a chance to a number of young players during pre-season and thinks being able to give them further game time in the reserves once the season starts is a positive step.

Being in the Central League will also enable players not in the team to maintain their match sharpness.

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McAvoy told the Lancashire Post: “I had a background in youth football and I know what is like for the younger players who are desperate to get a chance and an opportunity.

Preston North End head coach Frankie McAvoy with Paul Gallagher at the Wigan gamePreston North End head coach Frankie McAvoy with Paul Gallagher at the Wigan game
Preston North End head coach Frankie McAvoy with Paul Gallagher at the Wigan game

“You need to give them an environment and a platform to show what they can do.

“There are a few young players who have had a good sniff in pre-season and got to know a bit about what the first team is all about.

“I don’t want it to be the case where we give them a sniff of a chance and then just discard them.

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“We need to develop them and push them on as best we can. Having the reserves is a great opportunity.

“Paul Gallagher and Steve Thompson will get the chance to coach and work with them, put them into decent games.

“For me, a reserves side is great for the club and we will use it properly.”

Lewis Leigh, Josh Seary, Joe Rodwell-Grant and Noah Mawene are four of the young players to have been in McAvoy’s squad at various stages of pre-season.

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Leigh, 17, has had the most game time, with the midfielder very much in McAvoy’s plans for the Championship campaign.

He has impressed the senior players in the squad for the way he has stepped up from the academy. Rodwell-Grant got on the scoresheet in Friday night’s 3-2 defeat at Wigan, with Seary and Mawene getting game time earlier in pre-season.

Meanwhile, North End have revealed they won 5-0 in a behind closed doors game at Deepdale on Saturday which replaced the scheduled friendly against Manchester United which was cancelled at less than 48 hours notice.

However, the team who stepped in to play them at short notice have asked not to be named!

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PNE’s goals came from Brad Potts, Ben Whiteman (pen), Emil Riis, Tom Barkhuizen and Jordan Storey.

Daniel Johnson got 20 minutes as a substitute on his return from playing at the Gold Cup with Jamaica.

McAvoy said: “We planned everything for playing Wigan on Friday and Manchester United on Saturday.

“It was a kick where it hurts when United had to pull out and it was stressful trying to get another team to play us.”