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Preston North End sack Frankie McAvoy: Early reaction and contenders

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Frankie McAvoy’s job at Preston North End has been hanging on by a thread for weeks – and the Lilywhites finally cut it on Monday night, relieving the head coach of his duties as reported by the club’s official website.

McAvoy had done well since taking over from Alex Neil last year and managed to steady the ship when it looked like we were drifting our way towards League One oblivion.

It’s been a different story this campaign though, with the club struggling to put results together and being beaten in both derbies against Blackpool and Blackburn this year. While Rovers battle for a play-off spot and the Seasiders sit high above us, we are now sat in 18th place and are looking back over our shoulders with a slight hint of fear.

We’ve flattered to deceive at times too and looked like a team with no direction, tactical guidance or motivation to boot.

The win against Middlesbrough really should have been a defeat if not for two strokes of luck and some poor play from our opposition. It might have seen him lose his job – instead, he lived to fight another day. However, after a decent draw against Fulham, a loss to Blackburn was the final straw.

Fans are in utter agreement that now was the right time for him to leave – and it’s hard to disagree.

There is one thing that all the messages about his departure have in common though and that is that McAvoy was, ultimately, a good bloke. He meant well, he liked his role at the club and he enjoyed a solid display and a good victory. He endeared himself to the players and to the fans but, towards the end, it just became clear that there was no sense of direction with the Scot at the helm.

With the role now vacant, the early contenders have flipped and changed plenty already. Some fans are calling for a reunion with a former player like Gareth Ainsworth, while others want to see a fresh young managerial talent given a chance like Michael Carrick.

The odds-on favourite as this article is being published via Bettingodds (which may change again very shortly) is Plymouth boss Ryan Lowe. It would be an ambitious and exciting appointment for North End to make and would be a real step in the right direction – but would Argyle really let their manager leave in the middle of a promotion battle? Would the man himself depart when he could seal promotion from League One with his current side?

Carrick is the another name being thrown into the ring, whilst Callum Davidson – the former player working wonders at St Johnstone – and Roy Keane are some of the other faces being bandied about by the bookies.

With the Lancashire Evening Post reporting that the Lilywhites have already eyed up a man to come in who is already at another job though, that would rule out the two former Man United players. It would instead bring in potential names though like Mark Bonner, Graham Alexander, Liam Manning or Matt Gray of Sutton, who have all also made the bookies list.

Either way, it is sure to be an interesting week to be a North End fan – and we could even see a new manager put in place by the Barnsley game. We do though want to wish Frankie all the best in whatever he does next.

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