Ahead of Saturday’s game against Blackburn Rovers, Frankie McAvoy has acknowledged their good form of late, but says his PNE side should be confident going to Ewood Park on the back of two positive results.
North End have taken four points from those games, firstly claiming victory away to Middlesbrough before following that up with a point at home to league leaders Fulham.
Blackburn were beaten 7-0 by the Cottagers at the beginning of November, but since then have gone four unbeaten, taking wins from three of those games.
Frankie told iFollow PNE: “They’ve taken ten points from 12 since that heavy defeat against Fulham and credit to them, because sometimes you could go the other way and maybe lose a wee bit of confidence because of that type of result, but they’ve performed really, really well.
“We’ve watched them quite a few times. Tony [Mowbray] has got them back being a threat; [they got a] a good result at the weekend at Stoke City which is a difficult venue to go most of the time.
“But we’re in a good position. We’ve done well to come back at Middlesbrough and obviously we had a good performance on Saturday against the team that most people think are going to win the league, so why shouldn’t we be confident going in to another derby?
“We didn’t perform as well in the last one against Blackpool, but now we’ve got the chance to remedy that which is great.
“Hopefully a big following come and support us, and we’ve got a chance and an opportunity to try and redeem ourselves as a group.”
During PNE’s last game – against Fulham – they managed to keep free-scoring forward Aleksandar Mitrovic very quiet at the top end of the pitch, and North End will now come up against the next highest scorer in the division, Ben Brereton Diaz.
The Chilean international has hit 16 goals in his 20 league games so far and, while aware of his quality, Frankie knows he’s not the only one to keep quiet.
He said: “Up and down the league there’s a lot of good front players. Emil [Riis] for ourselves has done extremely well, he’s got 12 goals this season. Ched has two in two.
“But Brereton Diaz is another one that’s proven he’s a good player at this level. What we’ll do is give him every respect, as we do with everybody else, and we’ll prepare as best as we can to keep him quiet and the others within the team.”
The Lilywhites have had a good record at Ewood Park in recent years, without a defeat since 2001 on Rovers’ home patch, and the most recent victory came last time out in February, when Alex Neil’s PNE won 2-1.
Speaking of trips to Blackburn, Frankie said: “I’ve been there a few times myself and it’s been great. We’ve had a couple of good results there, none more so than the last one.
“Obviously there weren’t fans at it, but it was a great occasion. For me, the fans particularly at away games have been magnificent.
“The only one was we had the game at Blackpool where we didn’t perform as well as we would have hoped.
“Now we’ve got a chance, this is a big chance for us to go and redeem ourselves and go and show that we deserve to be pushing for that top half of the league and even higher if we can do, because that’s our aim. That’s what we need to do now.”
Hear more from Frankie in his full interview on iFollow.