Preston North End’s interim head coach Frankie McAvoy is looking forward to the final game of the season and to celebrating Gentry Day with the trip to Nottingham Forest.
The Lilywhites go into the final game of the season looking to end on a positive after an excellent run of results under his management, knowing a win would see the team finish 13th on 61 points.
And the virtual celebration of Gentry Day is something that the Scot believes is more important that ever after the last year.
“The last year, more so than any year I can remember, makes you think about the people that you have had in your life and lost, but, things happen in life for reasons,” Frankie told iFollow PNE.
“Covid has come and it has affected the whole world – I wish we could have changed it, but you can’t change the whole world and all we can do is look at the light at the end of the tunnel and look at the people that matter most in your life, who have maybe passed and remember them and remember them fondly, because I think that’s what they would want you to do.
“I would also like to say at this stage, a massive thanks to the NHS; the doctors, the nurses, the care workers, the care givers and the volunteers, that have helped so many people up and down the country at a really difficult time for most people.
“I am delighted to be part of Gentry Day again this year. I believe it was Alan Ball who brought this to fruition and I say to the fans, enjoy it, because in life you don’t always get a lot of time to enjoy things and I just hope we can do alright on Saturday and go and perform well enough and remember all the people who mean a lot to us.
“If my memory serves me right, we were at Bolton one year and Steve Cowell put a bowler hat on Alex when he was manager, so I know what it means to PNE fans and I understand it.”
The final day hosts are Chris Hughton’s side at the City Ground and the interim chief is well aware of their threats, but, as has been his mantra since being given the role, he is focused on what his team can do to hurt the opposition, rather than what they are up against.
“Chris is a very experienced coach,” he continued. “He has managed in the Premier League, managed some big clubs and I have nothing but the utmost respect for Chris – and he is a lovely man as well.
“It will be a tough game. Chris has them well-prepared and well-drilled, as he always does with his teams and we will need to be at our best to hopefully win the game.
“I try and pay more attention to ourselves than I do to the opposition, but they have got good players.
“They beat us the last time they were here; it was a tight game and they are a big club, but we are a unique club in Preston North End and I am sure that we have got some good players who are capable of going to Nottingham Forest and getting a good result.”
And with game 46 ready to go, he believes that a positive end to the campaign could provide a vital boost going into the summer and the 2021/22 season.
“We were given eight games. We dealt with each game in isolation, as best we could, to try and win as many points as we could in each game. They have done that; I am very grateful that we have managed to maintain our status in the Championship.
“The worst we can finish is 14th and the best we can finish is 13th, so I am delighted for the players, because we were in a precarious position and, thankfully, we are not down there as one of the four teams fighting for survival on the last day.
“I want the players to go and enjoy Saturday, that is the most important thing. You hope a good result can give us momentum next year. Winning is a habit and if you try and breed good habits, it sets you up well for what lies ahead.
“That is what we have tried to go, get into good habits, try and make ourselves hard to beat, try and win as many games as we can, get as many points as we can and then see what happens going forward,” he added.
This weekend the season concludes with Jonathan Breeze being joined by former North End striker Brett Ormerod for full match coverage of this 12.30pm kick-off on Saturday lunchtime. Click here to sign up for an iFollow PNE match pass for £10.