Preston North End addition Josh Murphy has said manager Frankie McAvoy was one of the reasons why he decided to arrive at Deepdale from Cardiff City, speaking to the Lilywhites’ media team.
The 26-year-old came through the ranks at Norwich City as a young winger in Norfolk, spending the vast majority of his career at Carrow Road alongside twin brother Jacob before the latter moved on permanently in 2017, with the current Preston loanee departing the Canaries a year later to join Cardiff City in an £11m deal.
During his time at Norwich, he worked alongside current boss Frankie McAvoy when Alex Neil was manager. McAvoy was Neil’s first-team coach at Carrow Road – and played a big part in their promotion to the Premier League in 2015.
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Neil and McAvoy arrived in January 2015, dramatically improving the Canaries’ form from the start of their tenure in Norfolk and guiding them to a third-place finish, before going on to beat arch-rivals Ipswich Town in the play-off semi-finals and reaching the Premier League with a 2-0 win over Middlesbrough at Wembley.
Murphy made 13 appearances during that promotion-winning 2014/15 campaign as a youngster, before being wisely sent out on a successful loan to MK Dons the following season and then slowly becoming a semi-regular player under the Scottish duo during the 2016/17 season.
The current Preston boss left Norwich City in June 2017 – but Murphy’s time with McAvoy in a long Canaries career was particularly memorable for the winger – who wants to return the favour during his season-long loan spell with the Lilywhites.
“I’m really excited, I’ve always had tough games playing at Deepdale, I know the manager quite well and it’s something I’m looking forward to,” Murphy said to the Championship side’s journalists.
“I know some of the players as well so it’s an opportunity I’m excited for.
“It was a big factor [McAvoy being head coach], going back to the Norwich days he really helped me in my early development so it was a no brainer coming to Preston and having the chance to work with him.
“Hopefully I can repay him and the club and the faith they have put in to me with lots of good performances, goals and assists.”
After losing their opening three games of the league season, Preston North End have responded well by winning their last two and the addition of Murphy will only help to boost morale over the international break ahead of the next set of games.
Murphy played regularly for Cardiff City in the Championship last term, so it’s a bit of a surprise to see the winger going out on loan.
But the Bluebirds’ loss is Preston’s gain and if he can regain the form that earned him an £11m move to the Cardiff City Stadium three years ago, he could prove to be a useful asset going forward.
After failing to live up to expectations in his first season at Deepdale, this will be a big season for another Lilywhites player in Emil Riis. But the Danish forward can only benefit from the increased amount of competition and quality on the wing – and will give him the confidence to feel other chances will come if he misses others.
This injection of creativity will be vital for him and if Riis can impress this season, it could only go on to make Murphy’s assists record look a little neater in turn.
And considering this move is only a loan, this is a low-risk addition that could make a big difference. The Cardiff City loanee does want to repay McAvoy’s previous faith in him, after all.