Preston North End plan a formation change for the visit to Wigan Athletic

Preston North End head coach Frankie McAvoy will temporarily change course in terms of terms of formation for tonight’s clash with Wigan Athletic at the DW Stadium.

Friday, 30th July 2021, 8:01 am

In seven of his eight games in interim charge at the end of last season and throughout this pre-season, McAvoy has favoured a 3-5-2.

The Scot will test out an alternative for the short trip down the M6, with a back four set to feature.

It is likely to be a midfield diamond in front of that, a shape McAvoy used in his first game in temporary charge against Norwich in April.

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Preston North End head coach Frankie McAvoy

McAvoy says the trip to Wigan (7.30pm) is the right time to have a look at the alternative.

He had intended then changing back to three at the back for the Manchester United game which was dramatically cancelled last night after positive Covid-19 tests in the United squad.

Whether PNE will try and fill the void left by the United cancellation, remains to be seen.

“We’ve spoken as a group and we agree that our best shape is 3-5-2, it works well for us,” said McAvoy.

“At times we will need other formats and formations to play.

“We’ve looked at some in training and we’ll do that at Wigan – it will give us a good chance to see if we need to change or adapt anything.

“When it changed here from Alex to myself coming in, it took us a bit as a team to find the best formation.

“But I believe we have done that with the 3-5-2, it’s one we look comfortable in.

“What we are working on with that system is getting the wing-backs higher up the pitch, along with the front two and the attacking ‘10’.

“That means we have five attacking players for most parts of the game.

“What we will do at Wigan is change to a back four and see what we are like in that shape.”

On the selection front, the United cancellation might cause a re-think.

But Jamie Thomas is set to play at Wigan as he looks to try and earn a contract.

The attacking midfielder came off the bench at Accrington last week and scored within seven minutes of coming on.

Thomas has trained with North End this week and has caught the eye with his work and attitude.

Mathew Hudson looks likely to start in goal, Connor Ripley having played against Manchester City in midweek.

Hudson played at St Johnstone in the second half against Bolton.

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