Preston North End manager Ryan Lowe explains change of formation against Derby County

Ryan Lowe says switching Preston North End’s formation for the clash at Derby was done for a couple of different reasons.

By Dave Seddon
Monday, 4th April 2022, 8:00 am

For the first time as PNE manager Lowe started a game with a 4-3-3 formation, away from his favoured 3-5-2.

It meant only a second Championship start of the season for Joe Rafferty who played in a flat back four together with Patrick Bauer, Liam Lindsay and Andrew Hughes.

Lowe had three strikers strung across the front, Ched Evans flanked by Emil Riis and Cameron Archer.

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PNE went down to an 80th minute goal from Ravel Morrison by which time Derby were also down to 10 men after a red card for Max Bird for a forceful challenge on Ben Whiteman.

Lowe said: “I wanted to give some lads an opportunity to showcase themselves and also it was a chance for one or two to get a breather.

Preston North End defender Liam Lindsay heads to the dressing room after being sent-off against Derby County

"We still felt the three in midfield was vital to us and we went with three up front to try and push Derby back.

"It was also to try and throw a spanner into the works if you like, with Derby probably not expecting us to play four at the back.

"The formation change was designed to try and do something a little bit different. I want to build from now until the end of the season and then into next season.

"It’s important to have two formations which you can use, it’s something we will keep working with.”

Sepp van den Berg was left out of the team after international duty but was summoned from the bench after Lindsay’s dismissal.

Lowe said: “Sepp had played two 90 minutes and we had to be mindful of that.

"We contemplated saving Alan Browne but he’d had 80 minutes and 15 minutes, so he wasn’t too bad.

"Regardless of what formation we play, you’ve got to keep working the patterns and follow the game plan to create opportunities.

"We didn’t have many opportunities, hence it only needed one goal for Derby to win it.”