Frankie McAvoy getting joy from Preston North End’s wing-backs

Frankie McAvoy has stressed how important it is for his Preston North End side to get their wing-backs into matches in order to make the 3-5-2 system an effective one.

By Dave Seddon
Friday, 24th September 2021, 12:30 pm

One of his criticisms after the opening-day defeat to Hull at the beginning of August was how the two wing-backs can pinned in, hence the 3-5-2 becoming a far less effective 5-3-2.

McAvoy and his staff have worked hard on that aspect of the game, with Sepp van den Berg and Josh Earl the first choices in the Championship at present.

He rested them for the Carabao Cup clash with Cheltenham in midweek, Joe Rafferty and Greg Cunningham recalled.

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Sepp van den Berg has been one of PNE’s first-choice wing-backs

The pair combined for North End’s second goal, a cross from Cunningham steered home by Rafferty with a helping hand – or rather a helping boot – from the visitors’ Mattie Pollock who got the last touch.

McAvoy said: “There is nothing better when you play this system then to see a wing-back set-up the other wing-back for a goal.

“We work hard on that when doing our patterns in training.

“Greg set up Sepp van den Berg at Morecambe, Josh Earl set up Sepp in the Swansea game and then on Tuesday night Greg set up Joe to score.

“That is great to see and hopefully there is more of that to come.”

McAvoy has used various combinations of wing-backs this season.

It was Tom Barkhuizen and Cunningham for the season’s opener, then Van den Berg and Cunningham teamed up.

The Van den Berg and Earl combo has been in used in the league since the third game of the season at Huddersfield Town.