Interim head coach Frankie McAvoy will take charge of Preston North End for the first time when the Lilywhites line up against his former employers Norwich City on Good Friday.
And he has told iFollow PNE that it will be an incredibly proud moment for him and his family: “It will be the ultimate pride, as it has been every time I walk out at Deepdale,” he told the club’s digital channel.
“Football is a fantastic sport and a fantastic job that we have got and I just love the buzz of coming out onto the football field.
“That feeling of going out of the tunnel and getting ready to play a game, I think that is a buzz everybody gets – fans if they get to watch it are in their own unique moment and it will be a proud day for me, a proud day for my family and hopefully we get the right outcome.
“I am looking forward to it. I am itching at the bit to get the game started. We have had quite a bit of time with the players and they have been working really hard and what they want to do is go and showcase their talents – that’s the biggest thing for them and that is ultimately what I am looking forward to going and seeing.”
The last week have seen the former Hamilton man take ultimate charge of the team’s plans and he says that he is only looking forward: “I now understand exactly how head coaches feel! It has been good as well; it has been great to work with the players on the pitch, with the coaching team behind me and, ultimately, we are trying to get our stamp on how we see things going forward.
“What we can’t do is to change the past, it has gone. The great thing about it is that it is in the past now, if we get caught in that, we are not going to move forward.
“This is an opportunity and chance for us to move forward as individuals and collectively as a group and try and get the best out of us and hopefully that is the case on Friday against Norwich. We are in no doubt that it will be a tough game, but we will be up for the challenge.”
And he says the squad must do the same: “Although some people might have felt they didn’t have a lot of game time in the past, they have to have the mindset that the past is in the past and this is a new opportunity to impress,” he continued.
“It has been very good in training, very lively and enjoyable – which is the big thing and I am really looking forward to it, as I know the players and the backroom staff are as well.
“We are all unique individuals and we have to put our own pressure on ourselves. We all have different processes and ways of dealing with situations and what I don’t want to be doing and I don’t want the coaching staff doing and I don’t want the players doing either, is put themselves under any undue pressure.
“It is not needed. A lot of the things that we worry and stress about, we have no control over anyway. What will happen, will happen when they cross over that white line, then they are in control of what happens – with the ball and without the ball and that’s what I need to try and get them focused on.”
The preparations have also been very much a focus on the team’s own plans and not what the Canaries will bring: “I will be very mindful of Norwich as a team and very respectful of where they are in the league, but to be brutally honest, most of the focus we have had has been on us and that’s what I think it should be.
“Anything can happen in football, but I am looking forward to it. Every game that you play in the Championship, wherever you sit in that league, is a tough game.
“Norwich have our respect, coming to play us, but we are at home, playing at Deepdale and it is up to us to go and express ourselves as best we can when we get onto that pitch,” he added.
You can watch the full game live and exclusively on iFollow PNE this Good Friday, with former North End defender Michael Jackson alongside Jonathan Breeze for the first game under interim head coach Frankie McAvoy – on air from 2.30pm; click here now to sign up for a match pass for just £10.