Frankie McAvoy hoping his second Preston North End derby of the season is happier than his first

Frankie McAvoy is aiming for a better derby experience second time around than he had in his first when he takes Preston North End to face Blackburn Rovers tomorrow.

By Dave Seddon
Friday, 3rd December 2021, 8:00 am

Six weeks ago PNE were beaten by Blackpool, a result which still hangs over head coach McAvoy.

The Scot is hoping for much better at Ewood Park, his side going there having shown signs of improvement recently with four points taken from the last two games.

McAvoy said: “You can’t turn back the clock – I wish I could – and our focus is on playing Blackburn.

Patrick Bauer will return to Preston North End’s squad for the derby with Blackburn at Ewood Park

“We have a chance against another rival, another local rival, it’s another local derby.

“It’s a match we are really looking forward to and we want to go there and pick up three points.

“Our task is to do our utmost to send the Preston contingent home happy.

“Blackburn are in good fettle at the moment and we are in good fettle.

“We’ve had an away win at Middlesbrough and then the draw against Fulham when we limited Fulham to the fewest chances they’ve had this season.”

McAvoy should be able to call on the services of Patrick Bauer tomorrow.

The centre-half missed the Fulham game with tightness in his hamstring and Achilles but has returned to training.

However, there are fitness concerns about others in the squad, McAvoy reporting that there were ‘a few’ who have been having treatment.

Tom Barkhuizen and Andrew Hughes are two, both having to come off in the second half against Fulham.

Matthew Olosunde will come into contention for a first inclusion in the squad since signing in the summer.

A start for Ched Evans is likely after two goals in two games from the bench since regaining fitness after a tendon injury in his foot.

Said McAvoy: “Pat Bauer wasn’t far off last week but we didn’t want a situation like at Nottingham Forest when we took a chance but then had to bring him off in the first half.

“I thought Liam Lindsay did very well in Pat’s place, I had every confidence he could do well against Aleksandar Mitrovic.

”Ched of course comes into contention to start. He’s got two in two so he’s ready.

“We’ve got different ways of playing up front, Sean Maguire comes deep, takes the ball and links it.

“With Ched you’ve got the option of putting it right up the pitch to him, he keeps it alive up there. That is a similar to how Blackburn can use Ben Brereton Diaz or Sam Gallagher – they have the option to put it long.

“Ched is a nuisance for defenders, he’s an outlet and it’s great to have him back in the squad.”