Preston in good shape for trip to face Blades, says boss Frankie McAvoy

Frankie McAvoy is looking forward to tonight’s first part of a tough double-header for his Preston North End side.

Tuesday, 14th September 2021, 8:00 am

The Lilywhites play two of the clubs relegated from the Premier League this week, with a trip to Sheffield United followed by West Bromwich Albion’s visit to Deepdale.

PNE head coach McAvoy has a one-game-at-a-time mantra, so his full focus is on the Bramall Lane clash.

But if North End can come out of the next few days with a couple of good results, it would be a feather in the cap.

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Emil Riis

McAvoy said: “I expect nothing but a hard game, that is always how it is.

“I know that we will be giving it everything to try and come back with three points.

“Sheffield United are in good fettle after a good result at the weekend but we’re in decent shape too.

“We’ll be ready to take up the challenge, we’ll give them the respect we always give an opponent but it’s about what we do on the night.

“We are in a good place at the moment and I’m looking forward to the game.”

McAvoy will add Connor Wickham to the squad for the trip to South Yorkshire.

PNE signed the striker on a short term deal last night after he had spent the past month training with them.

Wickham, 28, has penned a four-month contract until January 13.

It is a low risk deal in many ways, giving Wickham further chance to prove himself.

North End have the security of another striker on the books, the deal taking them into the next transfer window.

Wickham, who has played for Ipswich, Sunderland and Crystal Palace, will wear the No.21 shirt.

He’s eligible to sign beyond the transfer window as he was a free agent following his release by Palace at the end of his contract in June.

Wickham is unlikely to start games for the time being, with him lacking match fitness – he played for the reserves last week but hasn’t started a competitive fixture since July 2020.

However, he provides an option up front, especially with Ched Evans, Scott Sinclair and Tom Barkhuizen currently sidelined.

Emil Riis and Sean Maguire have been McAvoy’s front pair for the last three games and the Scot has been impressed with what they have offered.

McAvoy said: “Sean has done really well for us, his link-up play has been excellent with DJ behind him.

“Emil has been a threat and he just needs a bit more composure in front of goal.

“He’s our top goalscorer at the moment, he’s lively, he’s quick and has started to look a real threat.

“I’ve got faith, belief and trust in them and I want them to have belief in their ability.”

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