Preston North End pair Alan Browne and Jayson Molumby miss Frankie McAvoy's early days in charge due to Republic of Ireland duty

Preston North End pair Alan Browne and Jayson Molumby are missing from Frankie McAvoy’s opening spell as interim head coach, with their focus on international football for the time being.

Wednesday, 24th March 2021, 10:26 am

The midfielders are with the Republic of Ireland squad for three matches, starting with Wednesday night's World Cup qualifier against Serbia in Belgrade.

The schedule continues when the Irish face Luxemburg in Dublin on Saturday and is rounded off against Qatar next Tuesday – a game being played in Debrecen, Hungary.

Browne and Molumby became club colleagues in January when Molumby signed on loan from Brighton for the rest of the season.

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Preston North End skipper Alan Browne in action against Wycombe

Before that, they had been in the Ireland squad together a few times.

Molumby’s time at PNE has been a touch stop-start, with seven starts and four games from the bench.

For two of the last three games the 21-year-old has been an unused substitute.

Nevertheless, Molumby has caught Browne’s eye, the PNE skipper thinking his colleague has been unlucky not to feature more.

PNE midfielder Jayson Molumby shields the ball from Middlesbrough's George Saville

When on Press duty ahead of the Serbia game, Browne said: “His work-rate, his ability on the ball, he’s fantastic.

“I think when you come on loan, it’s a case of you either play every game or you’re the one taken out if things are going against you and unfortunately for him, things have been going against us big time and we haven’t been doing well enough.

“It’s probably affected him and he’s probably been unfairly taken out of the team at times because, as I said, he’s been brilliant since he’s come in.”

Browne, 25, missed the last game of Alex Neil’s tenure due to suspension, the legacy of his red card against Middlesbrough.

He watched from the stand as Luton won 1-0 at Deepdale, with Neil sacked the following day.

Browne’s career flourished under Neil and this season he was appointed club captain.

It was no surprise then to hear he was very disappointed to see the Scot leave.

Browne, who has another two games of his ban to serve over Easter, said: “He’s been fantastic for me, for my career and a lot of the lads at Preston as well.

“He’s done a fantastic job and ultimately us as players we’ve let him down because he’s not the one going out on to the pitch but he’ll be the one taking the criticism. So it’s gutting for me.”

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