Preston North End youngsters have been a positive for Frankie McAvoy in pre-season

Frankie McAvoy has been pleased with how some of Preston North End’s younger players have handled being in the first-team environment during pre-season training.

Tuesday, 27th July 2021, 4:45 pm

Lewis Leigh, Josh Seary, Noah Mawene and Joe Rodwell-Grant have had game time in some of the friendlies to date.

North End head coach McAvoy was keen to have them involved in the senior squad, taking Leigh, Seary and Mawene to the Scottish training camp, together with young keeper Oliver Lombard.

Leigh, 17, a second-year scholar, has had the most game time.

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Lewis Leigh in action for Preston North End against Accrington Stanley

The midfielder played 45 minutes against Bamber Bridge, then got an hour in the 1-1 draw with St Johnstone.

He played 67 minutes in last week’s defeat to Bolton, then got 20 minutes as a sub at Accrington Stanley last Saturday.

First-year scholar Seary got a run-out against Brig and then came on as a 76th-minute sub at Celtic.

Mawene, who like Seary has been taken on as a scholar with the offer of a pro contract already, got game time against Brig and Bolton.

Rodwell-Grant, who got a pro deal in the summer, faced Brig and was on the bench at Accrington but did not get on.

McAvoy said: “We’ve seen some of the young lads in training and in matches.

“Noah picked up a bit of an injury at the weekend playing for the Under-19s against Middlesbrough.

“Lewis Leigh for me has done really well in the games.

“Maybe he struggled a wee bit in the Bolton game but I thought when he came on against Accrington he didn’t look out of place at all.

“I’ve been delighted with him, as I have been with the others.

“No matter what age you are, if you are good enough you are going to get a chance.”

Local lad Leigh, who went to Ashton High School, has not been afraid to go toe-to-toe with more experienced players in pre-season.

He got a yellow card for a tackle on Bolton’s Gethin Jones last week which could quite easily have been red in a league match.

Said McAvoy: “Lewis can put a foot in, he probably could have been sent off against Bolton, as could Ryan Ledson at Accrington.

“Some players have got that certain edge to their game and it is about making sure they don’t jump over that.

“If they do jump over it we’ve got to correct that and make them understand they don’t do it again.

“The younger lads will stay with us here, Lewis hasn’t missed a day.

“Josh and Noah we will allow to go and play for the academy team if they need to get some minutes. That is why we work it.”

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