Frankie McAvoy has issued a rallying cry to Preston North End supporters to get behind him and his players this weekend in the first game of the season.
Hull City come to Deepdale on Saturday for the opening game of the new Championship campaign and it will mark the first competitive fixture of Frankie’s spell as permanent head coach.
He’s hoping that his players, together with the supporters in the stands, can make the stadium a difficult place to come to.
Frankie told iFollow PNE: “What we need to do, and I ask this honestly, is that they get behind the players and they make Deepdale a real difficult venue for anybody that comes to play us and that begins on Saturday against Hull City.
“I think if you’ve got everybody behind you, supporting you, then they really become that 12th man, I don’t think there’s any question or doubt about that. That’s what I’m hoping we manage to do on Saturday and it’s fruitful for us and we get a positive result.”
Frankie is well aware that Saturday will be an emotional occasion for many supporters as they come through the turnstiles again after such a long time away, but it will also be a special day for him and his backroom staff.
He said: “It’s an absolute honour and a privilege to be the head coach of Preston North End, I’ve said that and I truly mean that. It’ll be a great day for myself and my family, and my friends and people that know me.
“But also for the likes of Gally [Paul Gallagher] and his family, Tommo [Steve Thompson] and his family, big Mike [Pollitt], and everybody connected with us as a group. It’s the first time that we as a group will be able to go and meet the supporters along with a lot of the players that have not had the opportunity or chance to play in front of the crowd.
“I’ve had the opportunity as a coach with Alex [Neil] to see just how good the Preston support can be playing at Deepdale. It’s got a special place in a lot of people’s hearts and I know and understand the importance of every game that you go and play to the supporters.
“They want to see you go and do well, particularly at home, and I’m hoping and praying and putting my faith and trust in the group that we’ve got that they can go and deliver on Saturday.”
It will be newly-promoted Hull City standing in the way of Frankie’s men and given their success last season, he is anticipating a difficult challenge, as with any game in the Championship.
He's not too interested, though, in putting large amounts of focus on the opposition, and instead is getting his own team ready as best as he can.
He said: “It’s difficult when you get relegated to try and bounce back at the next attempt, Grant [McCann] has done that with the group of players he’s got and that’s credit to him and credit to his backroom team, so we’re expecting a tough and difficult game.
“I’ve said to you before that anybody in the Championship can beat anybody on their day, so for me it’ll be a tough game but my main focus is on how we approach it. We will try and approach it with positivity and we’ll go and try and win the game.”
Hear more from Frankie in his full interview on iFollow PNE at the top of the page.