Frankie McAvoy backs Scott Sinclair to play a central role for Preston North End

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Scott Sinclair is seen by Frankie McAvoy as an option to play a more central role in the Preston North End team.

In McAvoy’s two games in charge to date, Sinclair has been used in-field rather than out on the wing.

The 32-year-old played behind the strikers against Norwich last week.

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Against his former club Swansea on Monday, Sinclair came off the bench to play next to Ched Evans up front.

Scott Sinclair’s shot is parried by the keeper at Swansea, leading to Matt Grimes’ own goalScott Sinclair’s shot is parried by the keeper at Swansea, leading to Matt Grimes’ own goal
Scott Sinclair’s shot is parried by the keeper at Swansea, leading to Matt Grimes’ own goal

It was Sinclair’s shot which led to Swans skipper Matt Grimes putting through his own net for North End’s winner at the Liberty Stadium.

He darted forward to get on the end of Ben Whiteman’s deflected shot, his effort parried by goalkeeper Freddie Woodman which then hit Grimes and went in.

Generously the announcer at the stadium gave Sinclair the goal but it was clearly a Grimes own goal.

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McAvoy said: “The most important thing for any front player is to get within the width of the goal, what we know as the ‘A’ zone.

“Scott does that well, he’s got a wealth of experience up there. I think he’s done great for us since coming here.

“I tried him as a 10 behind the front two against Norwich.

“He got an opportunity to score in the first half which unfortunately he didn’t take.

“We had him up front at Swansea later on and he got in position to have a shot which led to our goal.”

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Sinclair is PNE’s leading scorer with nine goals in the Championship.

Just two of those have come in 2021 – at Birmingham and against Huddersfield at Deepdale – the drying up in line with the team in general.

Give him a chance in the box and Sinclair has tended to deliver, hence McAvoy seeing him as an option centrally rather than just out wide. Said McAvoy: “Scott has scored some great goals for us, a lot of them away from home as it happens.

“He’s got that knack of being in the right place at the right time.

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“We’ve got to make sure he is as clinical as possible to put more chances away.”

Second behind Sinclair in the PNE scoring stakes is Brad Potts with five goals.

Potts’ fifth of the season came in the 95th minute against Norwich.

With the own goal winner at Swansea also coming in time added on, North End have shown they are prepared to battle right until the last whistle.

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In two other games they have scored in stoppage time in the league this season.

Alan Browne scored in the seventh minute of time added on at Derby on Boxing Day to secure a 1-0 win.

At Reading in November, Potts netted in the 92nd minute as PNE won 3-0 against the Royals.