Focus is on Preston North End’s attacking options ahead of Derby County’s visit

Preston North End’s attack for the resumption of action against Derby County on Saturday will be of keen interest to the Lilywhites’ faithful.

Tuesday, 12th October 2021, 8:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 12th October 2021, 8:34 am

Sean Maguire and Emil Riis have teamed up for the last seven Championship games.

But a hamstring injury which forced Maguire’s substitution at QPR in the last game before the international break, could force a change.

The 27-year-old had the injury scanned last week but North End have not yet said what the extent of it is.

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Sean Maguire limped off at QPR and is being monitored ahead of this weekend’s game

If the damage was only minor, it could be that Maguire has a chance of featuring this weekend.

However, hamstrings tend to be treated with a bit of caution.

North End do have options to play up front, although not out-and-out strikers. Josh Murphy, Scott Sinclair and Tom Barkhuizen would all be pushing for a place next to Riis.

Murphy was signed on loan from Cardiff with a view to him being a second striker.

Although Murphy is a winger by trade, PNE head coach Frankie McAvoy has favoured width coming from wing-backs in a 3-5-2 system.

Sinclair was back on the bench for the three matches before the break after being out with illness.

The former Celtic man was unused in all three and the 90 minutes he got in the reserves against Carlisle last week will have been welcome.

Barkhuizen got his first action of any sort since the opening day of the season in that reserve game.

He had struggled with the after-effects of Covid for more than a month, notably a real absence of energy when he tried to join in training.

In an interview with North End’s iFollow, Barkhuizen said: “When I first finished my two weeks’ isolation I thought I’d be pretty much straight back in.

“I was fine on the bike, it was only once I started going outside that I was just not myself and it really knocked me for six.

“The amount of times that I came in and just went home and had to take a few days off and try again, it was starting to really get frustrating.”

Barkhuizen added: “I think I tried to go outside two or three times and it just wasn’t working.

“ I went for blood tests, lung tests, heart tests and it got to the point where I was probably getting a little bit worried that it was worse than I thought it was going to be.

“It’s all in the past now, it’s all done and dusted.”

Today’s Lancashire FA Senior Cup tie with Rochdale at Euxton (2pm) could provide Barkhuizen with further match action. Admission is free and a shuttle bus is running from Deepdale and Leyland to the game.