Frankie McAvoy wants his side to find the right balance between being fired up for this weekend’s derby game while also keeping “cool and calm heads”.
PNE face their fiercest Lancashire rivals on Saturday afternoon for the first time in the league since 2010, and derby games like these always have the possibility to be a fiery affair.
Frankie knows his side will be well up for the game, with that motivation coming from within as much as from the coaching staff, but he also hopes they don’t let the occasion get to them.
Speaking to iFollow, Frankie said: “I’ve not been involved in them, I’ve heard so much about them, but the biggest and most important thing is don’t get carried away with the occasion.
“I know what it means to the supporters, you don’t need to tell me. I’ve been involved in derbies, Lanarkshire ones with Hamilton and Motherwell, and down in Norwich with Ipswich.
“They are massive, massive occasions, no matter what way you try and play it down. But the most important thing is we need cool and calm heads, and the players go and play the game and try to not play the occasion.
“If we can do that, then we should be fine and I’m looking forward to it.”
Frankie’s men will be backed by 2,200 PNE supporters at Bloomfield Road, while there will also be fans back home at Deepdale watching the game live via the beam back being offered by the club, with tickets still on sale for that here.
That support – at both grounds – will no doubt be felt by the North End players, who other than Paul Huntington and Declan Rudd, haven’t experienced this particular game.
“It’s new for us all apart from the supporters because they’ll know more about it than some of our players,” added Frankie.
“But the most important thing is we’ll prepare them as best as we can to go and try and win.
"I know we’ve sold out the allocation. We could have sold it probably five times over, six times over, which is fantastic, so you know what it means, that tells you enough.”
The magnitude of the fixture itself is enough to get fired up for the game, but recent events at the club may mean there's extra reason to want to go and get the victory.
Mr Hemmings’ death was felt by everybody at the club, and was rightly paid tribute to last week, but that hasn’t been the only tragedy to have hit the club hard in the past fortnight.
“I’ve not had much time to speak about people that have passed away, not just Mr Hemmings.
“One of our coaches here, Jack Cudworth, today they’ll bury their wee baby girl who was born prematurely after seven months in Chorley and we’ll go and attend that today at 2.30.
“And Kenny Marland the supporter, a massive fan, who passed away as well. You forget them things but don’t forget them because they’re important.
“It’s just a pity I’ve not really mentioned them before because Mr Hemmings’ passing has been the biggest and most important thing, but for those people, I’ve got nothing but the utmost sympathy and my thoughts are prayers are with them, as they are with the Hemmings family, and I think that’s important.
“Sometimes that puts football into perspective, but the biggest and most important thing now is that hopefully we can look at what we did well last night [against Coventry] and hopefully try and build on that for Saturday because without doubt it will probably be the biggest game in my short tenure, and it’ll be the biggest game for some of the players who are in this dressing room.”
Hear more from Frankie in his full interview on iFollow PNE.