Liam Lindsay must sit out Preston North End’s trip to the Potteries

Frankie McAvoy will have one enforced change to make as he seeks to steer Preston back on course at Stoke on Saturday.

By Dave Seddon
Wednesday, 14th April 2021, 8:00 am

In the wake of the 5-0 defeat to Brentford last weekend, McAvoy is bound to be tempted to tweak things.

However, Liam Lindsay will not be up for selection at the bet365 Stadium.

PNE signed the central defender on loan from Stoke on the final day of the winter transfer window.

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Preston defender Liam Lindsay

EFL rules prevent players facing their parent club, so Lindsay will have to watch from the sidelines.

The Scotsman’s stay in the Potteries has been a curious one, with him going from being a big-money buy to a first-team outcast.

Stoke signed him for £2m from Barnsley in June 2019 and for his first few months there Lindsay was a regular. He fell out of favour at the end of January 2020 and had not played in the first team for 12 months when North End moved for him on loan.

Lindsay has made nine starts for the Lilywhites, with a torn hamstring seeing him sidelined during late February and early March.

In the Brentford game he was substituted early in the second half with the score at 2-0, the 25-yard-old being the defender sacrificed when McAvoy switched from 3-5-2 to 4-3-3.

Lindsay had been in the wars in the first half, getting a bang above his left eye during a collision with Bees keeper David Raya.

McAvoy said post-match on Saturday that he intended sticking with 3-5-2 from now on, convinced that North End have looked more solid in that formation than when they play four at the back.

In the last two games, Lindsay had been the middle of the three centre-backs, with Jordan Storey and Andrew Hughes playing either side him. Paul Huntington would seem the natural choice to take Lindsay’s place at Stoke.

Huntington’s game time has been limited recently, his last game being the 1-0 defeat at Wycombe on March 13.

Another option would be to move Sepp van den Berg into the centre of defence.

That is the Liverpool loan player’s natural position but he has been in the main used at right-back and wing-back.

The teenager struggled against Brentford where he was up against Bees dangerman Bryan Mbeumo.

On the selection front, McAvoy will hope an emptying treatment room can give him more selection options.

While he got Anthony Gordon back from injury for Brentford, the interim head coach was still without Daniel Johnson, Sean Maguire and Greg Cuningham.

Johnson and Maguire have missed the last two games, while Cunningham’s last match was on March 6.