Results earned Frankie McAvoy the chance to land Preston North End's top job

As auditions go, Frankie McAvoy's try out for the Preston North End head coach role could not have gone much better.

Monday, 10th May 2021, 4:32 pm
Updated Monday, 10th May 2021, 4:57 pm

The Scot was given eight games as interim to reverse PNE's slide down the Championship and work to land the post full-time.

A 63% win rate between April 2 and May 8 impressed the North End hierarchy and saw McAvoy appointed permanently on Monday afternoon.

Five wins, two draws, one defeat, 10 goals scored, seven conceded, 17 points gained - those were the statistics of the 53-year-old's interim tenure.

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Preston North End head coach Frankie McAvoy

Four of their opponents were against the Championship's top five, North End taking seven points from them. They included champions Norwich City who were held a 1-1 draw in McAvoy's first game at the helm.

In the end, the record under McAvoy made it a straight forward decision for the Lilywhites to appoint him - it made it difficult to look outside of Deepdale for Alex Neil's successor.

Appointing from within is nothing new at Preston, with a coach or assistant having stepped into the No.1 job many times over the years.

In the last 50 years, North End have been promoted six times. The managers for three of those promotions had come from within.

The PNE coaching staff: Steve Thompson, Frankie McAvoy, Mike Pollitt and Paul Gallagher

Nobby Stiles stepped up from a coaching role to replace Harry Catterick in 1977 and guided PNE to promotion from the old Division Three in May 1978.

It was Gary Peters who masterminded Preston's Third Division title win in 1995/96 having previously been John Beck's assistant.

David Moyes was No.2 to Peters and took the manager's job in January 1998, leading the Deepdale outfit to the Second Division title in 2000.

The managers who came from outside to win promotion were Alan Ball Snr in 1970/71, John McGrath in 1986/87 and Simon Grayson in 2014/15.

Billy Davies came close to adding his name to the promotion roll of honour after stepping-up to take the reins from Craig Brown in 2004.

Twice Davies led North End to the play-offs in 2005 and 2006.

Others to be promoted to the manager's office after being on the coaching staff include Alan Kelly Snr, Tommy Booth, Brian Kidd and Les Chapman.

This is McAvoy's first time as a No.1 having coached at Dunfermline, Hamilton Academical and Norwich before coming to Preston in the summer of 2017.

His coaching background was in youth football, him landing the job of Hamilton's head of academy seeing him cross paths with Neil.

When Neil landed the Accies' manager's job, McAvoy became his assistant. He followed him to Norwich in January 2015 and on to Deepdale 30 months later.

On March 21 when North End parted company with Neil, it came as a surprise to many fans when McAvoy was given the interim role.

It had been assumed outside Deepdale that McAvoy would depart with Neil on the basis that they had arrived together.

Paul Gallagher and Steve Thompson was the rumoured partnership to assume control but the caretaker role went to McAvoy with Gallagher and Thompson on his staff together with goalkeeper coach Mike Pollitt.

The quartet have very much worked as a team in over the last few months. In every press conference - pre and post match - McAvoy has referenced Gallagher, Thompson and Pollitt in attributing credit for the results.

They will work closely going forward, Gallagher calling time on his playing career to join the staff full-time.

Gallagher has looked very much at home in the technical area and you do wonder in years to come if he will take the top job.

McAvoy is the first man to work with the head coach title.

There had been 29 full-time managers since 1949 when PNE ended the committee system of running the team.

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