Rotating Preston North End's squad during the good run of form hasn't been possible admits Frankie McAvoy

Frankie McAvoy says Preston North End’s good run of form has made it difficult for him to rotate the squad in the closing stages of the season.

Tuesday, 4th May 2021, 8:00 am

PNE were all-but safe after the 3-0 win over Derby County a fortnight ago.

Safety was confirmed with the 1-0 victory over Coventry a week last Saturday.

The weekend win against Barnsley lifted McAvoy’s men up to 13th place and a huge 18 points clear of the drop zone.

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Preston North End interim head coach Frankie McAvoy with coaches Paul Gallagher and Steve Thompson

Interim head coach McAvoy might have been tempted to give game time to some of those players who hadn’t featured as much since he took charge.

But he’s been happy to stick with the core players who made sure of safety.

Whether McAvoy will be a bit more open to change in the final game of the season at Nottingham Forest on Saturday lunchtime (12.30pm), remains to be seen.

McAvoy told the Lancashire Post: “I was thinking of mixing it up a wee bit against Barnsley.

Some of the PNE squad have found game time hard to come by as Frankie McAvoy sticks with a settled squad

“But talking to the players who have been in the team, they were desperate to play.

“They reminded me about what I said when I took the job, about wanting to win as many games, get as many points and finish as high up the league as possible.

“The lads were saying ‘Have we not done alright’? We still want play’.

“That approach is great to have to be honest, they want the club to do as well as it can.

“I know the formation we have played hasn’t helped some of the boys.

“That’s in terms of the wide players because we haven’t been playing with wingers. I understand that.

“But the most important thing first and foremost was to stay in the league, then it’s been to finish as high as we can in the division.”

McAvoy says that he speaks to the players individually and collectively on a regular basis.

“I think it’s important to have those conversations,” said McAvoy.

“I like to speak to players individually, I’m quite a people person. We also have our team meetings.

“There were certain ones in my mind about changing things a bit, doing this, that and the other.

“But the lads in the team don’t want to give their jersey up, all credit to them for that.”

No one would hold it against McAvoy should he choose to tweak the side at the City Ground.

He might be tempted to allow Paul Gallagher game time as he reaches the end of his playing contract and potentially joins the coaching staff full-time.

Louis Moult will soon be out of contract and the striker featured in two matchday squads recently after returning from 19 months out with a serious knee injury.

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