Preston boss Frankie McAvoy remains committed to playing two strikers

Frankie McAvoy says he will stick with two up front and intends looking at the shape behind the strikers in Preston North End’s friendly games.

Saturday, 10th July 2021, 7:56 am
Updated Saturday, 10th July 2021, 8:00 am

The Lilywhites open their pre-season campaign against Bamber Bridge today, with McAvoy intending to field a different XI in each half.

It will the Scot’s first game as head coach having been interim for eight matches at the end of last season.

He played a 3-5-2 for seven of those eight games, having started his tenure with an ambitious 4-1-3-2 diamond against Norwich.

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Ched Evans
Ched Evans

McAvoy is open to using both of those systems in the campaign ahead.

“The 3-5-2 did us great last season,” McAvoy told the Lancashire Post.

“We are well equipped with numbers in terms of playing that formation.

“I also like the diamond which we looked at in the Norwich game and might not have been the right one for that occasion with hindsight.

“Two up top I like so we will see where we go and what suits us best.

“With three at the back we have got players who offer us plenty of options , covering the centre-back and wing-back positions.

“If we play the diamond it’s with a back four and higher up the pitch we’ve got Izzy Brown and Scott Sinclair who are both pocket players.

“I’ve been looking at the systems in training and will do in the friendlies.”

McAvoy started Ched Evans up front in all of his eight games at the helm last season, partnering him at different times with Emil Riis, Tom Barkhuizen and Sean Maguire.

North End want to bring in another striker during the summer window but are prepared to wait a while to do business.

Against Brig (3pm), Declan Rudd, Patrick Bauer and Joe Rafferty are expected to play after injury sidelined them for parts of last season.

Bauer ruptured his Achilles tendon last December, with Rudd dislodging knee cartilage in January.

Rafferty missed all eight games of McAvoy’s interim reign, the right-back revealing he fractured two bones in his back in Alex Neil’s final game in charge against Luton.

North End might have one or two of their first-team squad missing today, skipper Alan Browne one of those set to miss out.

Over the summer Browne rested an injury he’d been carrying for a chunk of last season and is being eased back into training.

Some of the young players will feature this afternoon as McAvoy casts his eye over all those available to him.

The clash is a 1,300 sell-out, with fans needing to provide evidence of a negative lateral flow Covid-19 test.