Preston North End’s interim head coach Frankie McAvoy says he has stressed to the players what an honour and a privilege it is to wear the club’s colours every day.
Speaking to iFollow PNE ahead of the visit of promotion-chasing Brentford, Frankie said that he had a lot of faith in the squad and hoped that he was earning their trust as time progresses since he was given the job of leading them for the final eight games of the season.
“Sometimes, when you are making the final decision, when you sit down and look [the players] in the eye, they need to know that you trust them and it is then a question of whether they trust me and the backroom team,” he explained.
“It is about gaining that mutual respect and trust and we are getting there, slowly but surely, and once they understand and realise how much faith and trust I have in them, then that will be better.
“The players are the people who make the difference, they are the guys that go and play - the people the fans want to come and watch – they don’t want to watch the people at the side of the pitch, they want to watch the players that pull on that famous Preston North End jersey.
“It is an honour, and I have told them that, to wear that every single day and a privilege – it is a massive honour and we should think ourselves lucky.
“We are in fantastic positions, with great jobs, let’s go and make the best of it.”
The next test posed for Frankie and the squad is by Thomas Frank’s Bees – the third game against sides in the four in the space of a week: “It is a similar challenge to the games we have just played,” he continued.
“Norwich, undoubtedly, look the best team in the league, but the likes of Watford, Swansea and Brentford, there are quite a few teams pushing to get into that second spot or the Play-Offs, so it will be a tough task.
“We have to look at what we have done, look at the positives from the last couple of games and take that forward into the game on Saturday.
“The Brentford game from earlier this season is in the past now; a lot of the personnel we had from then are not here now, we just need to focus on the players we have currently at our disposal and concentrate on preparing them, as best we can, to try and get another three points from the game on Saturday.”
Skipper Alan Browne is free of suspension and the Scot will also hope to have a couple of other players back from injury and he says that they all have a part to play.
“They are all valuable members of the squad – the most important thing is that we are a team.
“There is no individual bigger than the team; the moment you have an individual who thinks they are bigger than the team, then it is not going to work.
“We have instilled a great camaraderie, a great trust and friendship as a group. They work for one another; hopefully the supporters have seen that the last couple of games, we just have to make sure we do the same again for Brentford.
“The most important thing is that we keep the feet firmly on the level ground. We have done well in the last couple of games, but they are in the past.
“Our key focus in on Brentford, learn from the things we didn’t do in the last couple of games and focus on trying to better the things we did well, preparing as best we can on the training field, ready to meet the challenge of Brentford on Saturday.
“I am trying my best to get the team prepared as best I can to go and try and beat Brentford.
“As time goes on, I will probably get a bit better at enjoying it, but I am relieved that the first couple of games are over with and I just put my full focus on getting the best out of the players and coming up with the most positive result we can get in our favour.
“For me, the way I am looking at it is that if you keep dwelling in the past, you can get caught up in it. I am trying to keep in the here and now and deal with what we have got and what is best suited for us.
“Ultimately, it is the players that make the difference and we are here to help them and try and get the best out of them – myself and the backroom team – that’s what we have done in the last two games and we are learning as well, to try and get better for the Brentford game,” he added.
This weekend we will again have full and exclusive coverage of the game live on iFollow PNE, with former PNE centre half Michael Jackson alongside Jonathan Breeze bringing you all the action from 2.30pm. Click here now to purchase an iFollow PNE match pass.