Mavididi eyes start for PNE’s Friday night derby

Stephy Mavididi rides a challenge from Wolves' defender Roderick Miranda
Stephy Mavididi rides a challenge from Wolves' defender Roderick Miranda
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Stephy Mavididi warmed up for a possible start in Preston’s team against Bolton on Friday by winning a third cap for the England Under-20s.

The 19-year-old played 73 minutes of Tuesday’s 2-1 loss to Germany in Zwickau.

Mavididi hit the bar with a second-half shot as England sought to reduce a 2-0 deficit.

Late in the game, Harvey Baines hit a consolation goal for the young Lions.

Mavididi will be back at Springfields on Thursday to join in North End’s build-up to Bolton’s visit to Deepdale.

He is on a season’s loan from Arsenal and in the main has been used from the bench.

But with Sean Maguire and Jordan Hugill ruled out on Friday, there could be a chance to start.

Maguire had surgery last week to repair a hamstring injury and faces three to four months on the sidelines.

Suspension rules Hugill out, the top scorer having been booked five times, which triggers a one-game ban.

Mavididi played up front for England Under-20s on Tuesday.

In a PNE shirt, he has mainly operated in a wide role.

But when coming on as a sub against Wolves and Brentford, he played centrally next to Hugill.

Other options open to Alex Neil in replacing Hugill and Maguire, include using Tom Barkhuizen and Callum Robinson as central strikers. Both played up front last 
season, although that was in a 4-4-2 and not the 4-2-3-1 which is favoured by PNE boss Neil.

The other Preston player away on international duty in the last few days was keeper Chris Maxwell.

He was an unused sub in Wales’ 2-0 defeat to France on Friday and Tuesday night’s 1-1 draw with Panama in Cardiff.

The World Cup dreams of Preston’s Republic of Ireland contingent went up in smoke on Tuesday night as the Irish were beaten 5-1 by Denmark.

None of the PNE players made the squad for the play-off games.