Still unsure if Frankie McAvoy is the right man for Preston as manager, says fan Tim Mercer

The moment when Frankie McAvoy was given the task of securing North End’s Championship status with eight games remaining, the team had all but forgotten the art of defending; shipping goals on a regular basis as confidence levels headed south.
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With just one match to go and five clean sheets later it is difficult to believe this is the same set of players that departing boss Alex Neil did not have a ‘Scooby Doo’ about in terms of his best team.

The latest shut-out produced a convincing win over surprise play-off semi-finalists Barnsley and again showed the togetherness of the squad in players’ reactions and body language. The record will show a goal scored in each half by Jordan Storey and Ched Evans respectively and will no doubt add to the growing momentum in some quarters to give McAvoy the job on a permanent basis come the summer.

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Having witnessed many similar situations over the years I am normally pretty decisive about which side of the fence I sit on, but on this occasion am somewhat unsure. On the one hand, it is clear that Frankie knows a thing or two about keeping the back door shut and this has been impressive.

Greg Cunningham on the ball against BarnsleyGreg Cunningham on the ball against Barnsley
Greg Cunningham on the ball against Barnsley

On the other, forward play appears to have been reduced to pumping long balls forward in a mainly one-dimensional tactic that is critically reliant on Evans’ willingness to chase down lost causes and use all his nous to make it stick up top.

Of course, this may be a case of ‘getting the job done with the resources available’ but that leads onto another concern.

Players like Daniel Iversen Sepp van den Berg and Liam Lindsay are now key components of that mean defence and are all due to return to their parent clubs after next week. I will continue to give my support to Frankie or whomsoever fills the Deepdale hot seat come August when, hopefully, we will never have to watch a match on iFollow ever again.

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