Tom Bayliss and Scott Sinclair came into the starting XI at the City Ground, replacing Ben Whiteman and Tom Barkhuizen who moved to the bench.
It was only midfielder Bayliss' second Championship start, the other also coming against Forest in the reverse fixture at Deepdale in January.
Sinclair's start was his first since the 1-1 draw with Norwich City on Good Friday, that McAvoy's first game in interim charge.
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North End's top scorer was handed a role alongside Ched Evans in the attack, Bayliss operating with player of the year Ryan Ledson and skipper Alan Browne in midfield.
McAvoy's men go into the clash knowing they can only finish 13th or 14th, Championship safety having been achieved a couple of games ago.
Forest: Samba, Christie, Worrall, Soh, Ribeiro, Garner, Yates, Krovinovic, Knockaert, Grabban, Taylor. Subs: Figueiredo, Colback, Jenkinson, Mighten, Cafu, Blackett, Murray, McKenna, Smith.
PNE: Iversen, Storey, Lindsay, Hughes, van den Berg, Bayliss, Browne, Ledson, Cunningham, Sinclai, Evans. Subs: Whiteman, Riis, Molumby, Huntington, Maguire, Barkhuizen, Gordon, Potts, Ripley.
Referee: Darren Bond (Lancashire)
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