Frankie McAvoy has completed his task as Preston North End secured their Championship status for another season on Tuesday night.
The former assistant to Alex Neil has settled nicely into the interim role, and eight points have been won from his five games in charge so far.
He’s managed to put his own stamp on the team already, with a new formation adopted which has focused on wing-backs and two strikers up front.
His substitutions have paid off as well with the introduction of Brad Potts for Ben Whiteman on Tuesday raising a few eyebrows but it was the right move. Potts took us higher up the pitch and created the second goal which killed the game off.
Frankie seems keen to take the job on a permanent basis. He’s spoke of his love for the club and how it’s an honour to be in charge right now. He has impressed fans, players and you would presume Peter Ridsdale so far, but what he does next will be interesting.
With safety secured and the remaining games effectively dead rubbers there is always the temptation to give youth a chance. There’s a few players who have been knocking on the door this season and will be desperate for an opportunity. Lewis Coulton, Jacob Holland-Wilkinson, Joe Rodwell-Grant and Lewis Leigh have all made the squad this season but none of them made it into the pitch.
Of course, McAvoy still wants positive results, and throwing youth into the team may hinder his chances of picking up more wins. However, if it’s managed correctly then it could work wonders for him.
It would certainly go down well with the fans who love to see local talent come through. Noah Mawene, son of legend Youl, is currently impressing in the Under-18’s team and it would be great to see him break into the first team.
In the past few years it’s only really been Josh Earl who’s managed to make that step up. With others moving on to other local clubs it’s become frustrating that the most isn’t being made of our youth set-up.
If McAvoy doesn’t go down this route he may opt to give fringe players a chance instead. Tom Bayliss; the forgotten man, may get a game, whilst Billy Bodin and Louis Moult will be grateful for some minutes on the pitch after long injuries.
Expect a few changes for the remaining games, but the team will still be striving for three points each time to ensure they finish as high up the table as possible.