Preston North End top scorer Scott Sinclair was worth looking at as a striker says boss

Frankie McAvoy was pleased to be able to experiment with Scott Sinclair as a striker in Preston North End’s win over Nottingham Forest.

By Dave Seddon
Wednesday, 12th May 2021, 8:00 am

Prior to last Saturday, the 32-year-old had only started once during McAvoy’s interim spell in charge.

That was due to the change of system to 3-5-2 which uses wing-backs rather than wingers.

To try and get the best out of Sinclair, McAvoy put him next to Ched Evans up front at the City Ground.

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North End forward Scott Sinclair

McAvoy, who landed the head coach job full-time on Monday, told the Lancashire Post: “I’d been hoping for a while to look at players who’d I not seen a lot of, in terms of the 3-5-2 system I like.

“I brought Scott on as a sub to play up front at Swansea and he managed to get involved in the goal there. After that I chose to go with Emil Riis or Tom Barkhuizen over him. That was no slight on Scott because he is a very good player.

“I was just trying to find the right balance but I always wanted to get an opportunity to play Scott and Ched up top and see how it looked.

“In the second half I thought he was very good, as was Ched.”

The Sinclair/Evans pairing was the fourth different front partnership used from the start by McAvoy.

Evans started all eight games when McAvoy was the interim boss, Riis next to him for the first four.

Barkhuizen played as a striker in the home wins over Derby and Barnsley, with Sean Maguire alongside Evans in the victory over Coventry.

Sinclair, who was PNE’s top scorer with nine goals and won the goal of the season award, set up the equaliser for Tom Bayliss at Forest.

He played 82 minutes before giving way to Brad Potts as North End saw the game out.

Bayliss was the other player who McAvoy brought into the side on the final game.

The midfielder has had to be more patient than most in the PNE squad over the last couple of years.

McAvoy said: “Tom needed that opportunity in the middle of the park.

“He trains well, he works his socks off and words hard.

“I was comfortable making that decision but it was difficult to leave Ben Whiteman out.

“Sometimes you have to make tough decisions and it is good when they pay off.

“Tom and Scott were both involved in the first goal and Tom was involved in the second one too.

“In the second half against Forest we had Tom and Scott dropping into pockets behind Ched to try and get passes into feet from Sepp van den Berg and Greg Cunningham.

“I thought that worked really well.”

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