Head coach Frankie McAvoy was pleased to see the integration of his squad on the opening day of pre-season, with returning loanees, new signings and Academy players all taking part in training.
The club’s four summer signings so far, including Izzy Brown and Matthew Olosunde, joined their new team-mates on Thursday morning, meanwhile three players from the U18s were also at Euxton on the opening day of training.
Josh Earl and Josh Harrop were among those returning from loan deals, and long-term absentees Patrick Bauer and Declan Rudd were also able to take part once more following their returns from injury.
Speaking to iFollow PNE, Frankie said: “It was very enjoyable to be honest. It was great to see them back. The weather’s been great as well, we thought that the sun would be shining for the first day back in pre-season, which generally happens to be honest!
“It’s good to see the new signings integrate into the squad that we’ve got. It’s good to see the boys that have been on loan come back in as well, and great to see some of the younger boys that we’ve brought up from the Academy – young Noah Mawene, Josh Seary and Lewis Leigh, so yeah, good day all round.”
Up first in the pre-season schedule for the Lilywhites is a short journey to face Bamber Bridge on 10th July and then the squad will travel up to Scotland for a week’s training camp, during which they will face both St Johnstone and Celtic.
“The first game’s a local one against Bamber Bridge on 10th July,” added Frankie. “We’ll get the squads sorted for the games and then we’re looking to go away to St Andrew’s for a week which will be great. We can get a chance to integrate the new boys as well into how we work, so I’m really looking forward to it.
“Next week we’ll have a real good blast at them, getting them prepared for how we want to go and play.
“We’re paid to try and get the players ready to play in games, but I’m looking forward to seeing the 20 outfield players we’ll pick to play and the goalkeepers.
“It’s their first time back in with fans there; they’ve not had the opportunity for a long time to play in front of supporters. It’ll be a nice tight ground for them and I just hope they enjoy it and savour the moment, because football’s not as good without the fans, and I’m delighted that they’ll get the opportunity to see them on 10th July.”
Looking beyond pre-season, North End will begin their Championship campaign on 7th August with a home tie against Hull City, and the Scot admitted he’s happy his side will be able to kick off the new season at Deepdale.
They’ll be hoping to get off to a fast start and carry on the brilliant form in which they ended the last campaign during Frankie’s reign as interim head coach.
Frankie said: “What we did last year, it was good building blocks, good foundations, and we need to go and build on that.
“We did great last season, we got the plaudits at the end of the season, 17 points from 24, but that’s in the past and what we’ve got to try and do now is hit the ground running and try and be as successful as we can be.
“Our task for every game is to go and win as many points as we can and we’ll try and do that.”
There’s plenty more from Frankie in his full interview with iFollow PNE here, including what he got up to this summer and more on the plans for pre-season.