Frankie McAvoy issued a get well soon message to Tom Barkhuizen after it was confirmed that he has been unwell with Covid.
PNE’s No.29 has missed the last two fixtures through the illness which has meant he has had to isolate and, when he is well enough to return to training, there will be protocols to follow.
Speaking to iFollow PNE, Frankie said: “It’s been a blow. People’s medical conditions, they’re private matters, but Tom’s quite openly said why don’t you just let everybody know that I’ve got Covid so that was the reason for us to let people know.
“At the end of the day, up and down the country this will happen because unfortunately Covid’s still with us. It’s still here and it’s very much within our society.
“What we just need to do is deal with the protocols in place and when Tom’s able to come back fit, then there’s a seven to nine day phased programme for him to come in, and the quicker we can get him back and back into the fold it’ll be great.
“But I know myself when you’ve had Covid, even when you’re young and fit, it still can have an impact on you, so fingers crossed hopefully he comes back well and we can get him back into the fold as quickly as we can.”
Barky will therefore miss the weekend’s game against Darren Ferguson’s Peterborough United, who come to Deepdale with four points from their opening three games back in the Championship after their promotion last season.
Frankie said: “They lost their first game but they’ve come back well. They turned it around against Derby with two late goals, and obviously the other night they were 2-0 up and looking convincing against Cardiff City who are another good team as well, and unfortunately they’ll probably be disappointed that they’ve dropped two points from a good winning position.
“But they’re a good team, Darren’s done really well with them. [They have] good front players and they’ve got real energy around the team so it’ll be a really tough game again on Saturday.
“I’ve sat here many a time and said you don’t have any divine right to win a game, you’ve got to go and earn the right to win it and we’ve got to go and do that on Saturday because anybody on their day can beat anybody in the Championship and for me, it’ll be a formidable game.
“I hope that we’re up for a challenge. I believe myself that we’re good enough to go and win the game, but it’s okay sitting here and saying that, what we need to do is do it.”
Over the past week or so, members of the squad such as Alan Browne, Josh Earl and Ben Whiteman have all stressed the importance of the squad sticking together through what has been a difficult start to the campaign.
PNE’s head coach agreed that a positive mindset can go a long way in football.
He said: “It’s massive because the biggest thing is when you’re confident, and winning breeds confidence. Sometimes when you’re losing you can get people going into a rut, but the most important thing is I’m a positive person.
“We do our utmost to keep it a positive environment, even in the face of adversity and the face of difficulty, and that’s what we’ve got to do. I believe if you’ve got that type of environment that people are coming to work in, then you’ve got more opportunity and chance of being successful.
“Unfortunately, we’ve not picked up any points yet, but I’m pretty convinced if we continue to do the right things, the performance the other night was better than how it’s been the last two [games], and if we do that then we’ll pick up points.”
Frankie's full interview with iFollow PNE is available to watch now at the top of this page.