Frankie McAvoy DEMANDS Preston North End rise to big occasion against Liverpool
Frankie McAvoy has urged Preston North End to embrace the challenge of playing Liverpool tonight after falling flat on previous big occasions.
The Carabao Cup fourth-round clash (7.45pm) will be played in front of a capacity Deepdale crowd, the sold-out signs going up 48 hours ahead of kick-off.
PNE head coach McAvoy is mindful that his side have not shown up in some games when the stakes were high.
In particular, the opening day of the season when fans were back in, the Derby game after the passing of North End owner Trevor Hemmings and Saturday’s derby at Blackpool.
McAvoy said: “This is one we need to embrace, it’s a big challenge.
“Liverpool are one of the greats of world football at the moment.
“We can’t be frightened of the challenge, we have to give it our best and see where that takes us.
“We are in the last 16 of the cup – we’d rather be in it and not out of it.
“Deepdale is a fantastic place to play football particularly when it is a packed house.
“We want to put on a better show than we have done previously when the fans have turned out – if I’m honest we haven’t done well enough on big occasions.
“I hope the atmosphere will help us to produce a strong performance which we can be proud of.”
McAvoy acknowledges that he has been ‘mindful’ of the big league game against Luton on Saturday when selecting the side tonight.
Liverpool have granted permission for Sepp van den Berg to play against them, the Dutch teenager on loan from the Reds for the season.
It is quite unusual for loan players to face their parent club these days but Liverpool have taken the decision that involvement in a big game will be good for his development.
Alan Browne is suspended after his red card on Saturday, opening up a midfield slot.
Ali McCann and Ryan Ledson will be pushing to fill that vacancy, McCann now back from an ankle injury.
Matthew Olosunde played an hour of yesterday’s 3-0 win for the reserves against Bolton, possibly opening the door for a place in the squad.
The number of subs has been raised for this round of the competition and beyond.
Said McAvoy: “We can now use five subs from nine, it means a couple more people can be involved tonight.
“Whatever side Jurgen Klopp picks tonight will be a strong one.
“We had one of our best players in Ben Davies go there last season and Ben is now back in the Championship.
“That shows the quality they have got, not just in their first lot of players but the second and third lots.”