Frankie McAvoy sees tonight’s pre-season friendly against Premier League champions Manchester City as a “fantastic opportunity”.
PNE face Pep Guardiola’s men at the Academy Stadium this evening, with kick-off coming at 7pm, and despite the fact a lot of their first team players are still yet to return, Frankie is still expecting a difficult game.
He told iFollow PNE: “Obviously we’re not sure what type of personnel they’ll put out on the pitch, but they’re going to be formidable no matter who they put out.
“It’s a fantastic opportunity for some of the lads to play at their training facilities which are magnificent, it’s just a pity with Covid that fans are not able to go and see it, but we’re really looking forward to it.
“The focus is just on ourselves, it’s three games to go before we really crank it up next week in terms of looking forward to Hull City, so we’re gearing everything towards these final three games to try and put the final pieces together for Hull.
“We knew it was going to be a really tough [pre-season] schedule, but the biggest thing is these are the teams you want to try and play against. This will tell you how far away you are from that level and hopefully the guys can go and put a good show on, believe in themselves and go and be the best they can be.
The head coach also offered an update on injuries in the camp, with Frankie hopeful summer recruit Matthew Olosunde won’t be too far away from returning as he continues to nurse an Achilles problem.
Jack Baxter, Adam O’Reilly and Noah Mawene are three men sidelined for the time being, while Daniel Johnson should be able to return to Lancashire at some point over the next week following Jamaica’s exit from the Gold Cup.
Someone who was able to train with the squad on Monday was trialist Jamie Thomas, goalscorer against Accrington Stanley at the weekend, and he will stay with the team this week.
Frankie said: “Jamie will come in for the week, he’ll train. The idea we have at the moment is hopefully another training session tomorrow (Tuesday), he won’t take part against Man City, but I’m hoping that he’ll play on Friday night against Wigan.
“We need to be fair to the boy, he played 45 minutes on Saturday against Accrington, came on, scored the goal and trained today, and we’ll be prepare him as best as we can this week.
“We’ll have a real good look at him in our environment and we’ll see what happens.”
Another player Frankie will be taking a look at over the next week will be second-year scholar Lewis Leigh, who has massively impressed his head coach throughout pre-season.
Asked if he wanted to keep Lewis involved in the squad, Frankie said: “Definitely. I’ve said before no matter what age he is, he’s come up, he’s 17 years of age, he’s been involved in most of the pre-season, he’s been involved in quite a lot of the games, and he deserves to be here on what he’s produced so I’m absolutely delighted with him.”
Frankie’s full interview with iFollow PNE is available to watch at the top of the page.