Preston North End interim head coach Frankie McAvoy has revealed that Paul Gallagher may not have played his last game for the Lilywhites after all following speculation that he would make a permanent move into coaching.
The 36-year-old, who signed for North End permanently in 2015, was named as part of the temporary coaching staff following Alex Neil’s departure from Deepdale last week.
Gallagher has been assisting with the coaching of North End’s under-16’s team for the last couple of years as he works on his coaching badges and he was often seen in dialogue on the touchline with Neil, McAvoy and Steve Thompson earlier this season.
Due to his advancing years, Gallagher’s role has reduced on the pitch to a bit-part player, appearing in 13 games this season with PNE having a lot of younger legs to play in the engine room.
McAvoy fuelled the retirement rumours of Gallagher when answering a question last week in regards to his stance on the midfielder’s role, with McAvoy ‘confirming‘ that the veteran won’t be playing for the final eight games of the season.
But the 53-year-old has now moved to change his stance on the situation, saying that Gallagher will be available to play when necessary.
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“Listen, Paul Gallagher is still ultimately a player for Preston North End unless someone is telling me any different,” McAvoy said, per LancsLive.
“He’s still a player, but he’s come in as part of the coaching set-up and we’ll see where that takes us in the remaining games.
“He’s done great since coming in and has been a fantastic asset.”
Gallagher has been a fantastic servant to North End in his four separate spells with the club, but it did seem strange when McAvoy seemed to announce that he definitely wouldn’t get on the pitch under his coaching.
The midfielder still possesses a lethal set-piece and could be useful late on in a game if North End are chasing, with his free kicks and corners still being dangerous.
Now that Gallagher’s situation has been clarified, PNE fans can look forward to potentially seeing him between now and the end of the current campaign, and he will no doubt get a run out if and when their Championship safety has been secured.