Easing Ched Evans back has been best way forward for Preston North End

Frankie McAvoy says using Ched Evans from the bench for the last two games has been due to a managed return for the Preston North End striker from a long-term injury.

Tuesday, 30th November 2021, 8:00 am

Evans scored in both – the equaliser in last week’s win at Middlesbrough and then he levelled the scores against Fulham on Saturday.

Having shown that form in front of goal, it has inevitably led to questions about why he hadn’t started.

The answer is that after more than three months out, it has needed a more guarded approach.

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Ched Evans after coming on against Fulham on Saturday

Evans did not get to play in a reserve game to build up any match fitness before he was plunged into the squad for the Boro game.

He came on in the 53rd minute there, slightly earlier than had been planned.

The striker was introduced after an hour against Fulham, scoring the equaliser just 12 minutes later.

PNE head coach McAvoy said: “The big bit with Ched is looking after him after he’s come back in.

“A lot of credit goes to the medical staff for getting him right to play.

“You talk about Ched being a nuisance on the pitch but when he’s out of action he’s a real handful too!

“He’s just desperate to play and I’m delighted that we’ve got him to the stage where he’s been able to come on.

“Ched causes teams all sorts of hassle which is great for us.”

With the two substitute appearances under his belt and the chance to train this week, there is every chance Evans will come into starting contention against Blackburn at Ewood Park on Saturday.

McAvoy likes to play with two strikers so having Evans available increases the options for the frontline.

“Playing two up top suits Emil Riis, he’s done well this season with someone up there with him,” said McAvoy.

“If a team plays a back four against you, Emil can get one versus one with a centre-half because the other is occupied by our other striker.

“Ched is great to have in the squad, he’s a leader both on and off the pitch.

“He’s scored two goals in two games when we’ve brought him off the bench.

“Sometimes this season we haven’t had enough front players available for the bench.”

Meanwhile, North End reserves are in Central League Cup action this afternoon.

They play Morecambe at the Euxton training ground, kick-off 1pm.

It was a tie due to be played at Morecambe earlier in the season but they asked for it to be switched to Euxton – the Shrimps will still be classed as the home team.

Admission is free and the shuttle bus will run from Deepdale and Leyland.