Celtic, Man City & Man Utd friendlies like the Champions League for Preston North End says boss

Preston North End play the first of their ‘Champions League’ friendlies when they head to Celtic tomorrow.

Friday, 16th July 2021, 8:00 am

Lilywhites head coach Frankie McAvoy has likened the warm-up matches with Celtic Manchester City and Manchester United to being in a Champions League group.

The Celtic Park clash will bring to a close North End’s time in Scotland, the game having a 5.30pm kick-off.

Later in July McAvoy’s men play City away and then host United at Deepdale.

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Preston North End goalkeeper Declan Rudd will play 90 minutes against Celtic tomorrow

McAvoy said: “I’ve told the guys that it is like being in a Champions League group.

“Celtic, Manchester City and then Manchester United, it doesn’t get much harder than that does it?

“It is great for us to be playing games like this.

“Our guys have acquitted themselves well since I took the job and games like this give them an opportunity to showcase their talents.”

McAvoy is pleased to be faced with a tough schedule in pre-season.

St Johnstone were tough opponents in midweek, PNE drawing 1-1 in Perth.

On their return south of the border, they face Bolton at Leyland on Tuesday, a side fresh from promotion.

Then between the City and United games, Wigan provide the opposition.

Said McAvoy: “It’s credit to the people behind the scenes that we have got these great fixtures sorted.

“I’m a firm believer that we are as well playing good competitive opponents than being eased in. Everything we are doing is geared towards the first game against Hull.”

Those who came on as subs in the second half of the St Johnstone games are likely starters at Celtic as McAvoy looked for a an even spread of game time in the squad.

He will have Izzy Brown and Andrew Hughes available after they sat out the first two friendlies.

Declan Rudd is set for his first 90 minutes since January.

McAvoy said: “We played Mathew Hudson for 90 minutes at St Johnstone with a view to getting Dec 90 minutes against Celtic.”

There will a few absentees tomorrow, with Alan Browne back in training but not yet ready for a game.

Matthew Olosunde, Josh Harrop and Sean Maguire got niggling injuries in midweek and will not be risked, while Adam O’Reilly has an injury.

Personal reasons have kept Paul Huntington at home, while Ethan Walker and Jack Baxter have not made the trip due to being unwell.

Meanwhile, tickets went on sale today for the United game, priced £15 for adults, £10 for concessions and £5 for Under-19s.

Initially 13,000 home tickets will be available, with United getting 3,000.