No need to switch system for Coventry’s visit says Preston North End boss Frankie McAvoy

Frankie McAvoy says he will always be open to a change of formation but has questioned whether Preston North End’s clash with Coventry tonight is the right time to do that.

By Dave Seddon
Wednesday, 20th October 2021, 8:00 am

The PNE head coach has started with a 3-5-2 in 22 of his 23 matches in charge, the exception being the first against Norwich in April.

Last Saturday against Derby, McAvoy switched to a 4-2-3-1 for the latter stages.

The Scot did question, with a degree of hindsight, whether he might have been better starting with a back four as it nullified Derby’s approach.

Scott Sinclair is pressing for a start in the Preston North End side against Coventry City at Deepdale

However, McAvoy feels the 3-5-2 might still be better suited for Coventry’s visit to Deepdale (7.45pm).

McAvoy said: “There have been a few times when we’ve changed to a back four and had our fingers burnt.

“I felt with hindsight on Saturday that maybe we could have started that way.

“The back three has served us very well, the issue I have got is when Coventry have played against a back four they have won.

“The teams who have played a back three against them are the ones who have caused them most issues.

“It’s pretty easy to think you can rip everything up and start again. I’m a glass half-full guy rather than half-empty.

“We have lost one in nine but I know we have drawn a lot of games. Our task is to turn draws into wins.

“As a team we are hard to beat, it’s about being more clinical in the box.

“A lot of teams in the Championship play a back three, they do so to look that bit more solid.

“When you get wing-backs high it can cause teams who play a back four issues, because when you’ve also got two strikers you are going man-for-man at the top end.

“If you can make those numbers count, teams can have problems against you.

“What happened to us on Saturday is that Derby pinned our wing-backs and we became a back five, which I don’t want.”

Scott Sinclair and Ben Whiteman will be knocking on the door for a recall this evening having done well off the bench against Derby.

Sinclair’s last league start was against Peterborough on August 21.

He was sidelined by Covid for part of September but looked sharp in his half hour at the weekend, replacing Tom Barkhuizen up front.

Whiteman took the place of Ryan Ledson in midfield just beyond the hour mark against Derby.

Both him and Ledson are on four yellow cards each, a fifth would trigger a one-game suspension – something to bear in mind with the derby at Blackpool next.

Ali McCann will not make tonight’s game but McAvoy is ‘hopeful’ on Sean Maguire.