Timeline: Frankie McAvoy's time at PNE

Frankie McAvoy's time at Preston North End has come to an end following six months in full time charge of the first team, having initially joined the club as a first team coach in 2017.

By Tom Sandells
Monday, 6th December 2021, 8:40 pm
Updated Monday, 6th December 2021, 8:42 pm

He arrived at the club alongside Alex Neil as his fellow Scot was appointed PNE manager, though he did not join immediately as he remained under contract at Norwich City.

He took up a role as assistant coach to Neil and remained in the first team coaching setup until Neil was then sacked in March of this year.

When PNE sacked Neil they did not sack McAvoy, therefore the opportunity was there for the 54-year-old to take interim charge once he decided to stay on at Deepdale as he was not to be paid compensation as his former boss was.

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Frankie McAvoy was permanent head coach of PNE for six months before he was relieved of his duties.

Instead, McAvoy stepped up with Steve Thompson and then player Paul Gallagher alongside him, the latter making himself unavailable for selection.

In his eight games in charge towards the end of last season, McAvoy picked up 17 points from a possible 24 in his maiden top job.

He started with a 1-1 draw at home to champions elect Norwich City, before securing memorable wins over eventual play-off finalists Swansea City and fellow play-off side Barnsley.

A drubbing at the hands of Brentford was the only blip on his record.

In the summer, McAvoy was given the head coach role full time and went about brining back a couple of familiar faces from last season whilst also brining in some ill-fated new ones.

Matthew Olosunde has played just once this season and had to withdraw through injury, as did Connor Wickham and Izzy Brown was ruled out for the campaign before it began.

The 2021/22 season started off poorly as the Lilywhites lost their opening three league games but their Carabao Cup run, which ended in a glamour tie with Liverpool under the lights at Deepdale, was the only highlight.

A win over Peterborough United at home seemed to turn a corner for his side as they won next time out against Swansea City, making it seven unbeaten with a run of five draws in a row in the league.

A derby day defeat to Blackpool was the breaking point for a portion of the fanbase, as performances faltered and North End struggled.

His side seemed unable to deliver on the big occasions, as big followings were not met with big performances.

A defeat in another derby - where PNE have had a lot of success of late - against Blackburn Rovers proved to be the final nail in the coffin of the Scot's time at Preston, with the Lilywhites 18th in the table.

McAvoy can still turn to his experience as a coach, having spent a decade moving up through the ranks at Hamilton Academical and operating their academy prior to his move south to Norwich, to fall back on.

In the end it was a move that seemed to make sense in appointing McAvoy, he had an excellent and impressive audition but even going into the season he had still some sections of the fanbase to convince.

Two derby defeats played a big part in the supporters losing faith in their boss - though it should be said the players were still very clearly playing for him - but performances had been worrying.

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