Senior players set to return for Preston on Scotland trip after sitting out Bamber Bridge friendly

Frankie McAvoy expects to be able to field more of his senior players in Preston North End’s two games in Scotland in the coming days.

By Dave Seddon
Monday, 12th July 2021, 12:16 am
Updated Monday, 12th July 2021, 12:20 am

The PNE head coach put out a different XI in each half of Saturday’s 8-3 win against Bamber Bridge.

That was despite being without five players from the first-team squad including summer signings Izzy Brown and Matthew Olosunde.

Alan Browne, Andrew Hughes, Ched Evans and Paul Huntington also missed the friendly which ended up being played behind closed doors at Euxton after Brig’s pitch was left waterlogged by heavy rain on Saturday morning.

Alan Browne sat out the game against Bamber Bridge

North End travelled to St Andrew’s yesterday, where they will be based this week.

Tomorrow night they play St Johnstone at McDiarmid Park, then McAvoy’s men take on Celtic at Celtic Park on Saturday teatime.

McAvoy explained the nature of the injuries for the missing players were nothing significant.

In an interview with PNE’s iFollow, McAvoy said: “There were a couple of niggles and I didn’t want to risk anything.

“We’ve got the games with St Johnstone and Celtic and I’ll look to get them involved there.

“I was mindful of getting some of the younger boys involved and we’ve brought them to St Andrew’s.”

McAvoy gave run outs to five teenagers during the Brig match.

Joe Rodwell-Grant and Lewis Leigh started in the first-half team, with Noah Mawene coming on as a sub.

Josh Seary was named in the second-half team and was later replaced by Lewis Coulton.

Mawene, 16, made a big impact in his 20 or so minutes on the pitch, setting up two goals and scoring one.

Second-year scholar Leigh gave PNE the lead, with Brad Potts, Tom Barkhuizen and Mawene the other first-half scorers.

Josh Harrop, Sean Maguire (2) and Emil Riis struck in the second half.

McAvoy admitted to being ‘gutted’ that the game couldn’t go ahead at the Sir Tom Finney Stadium in front of a sell-out 1,300 crowd.

PNE’s first-half team were en route to the ground when referee Martin Woods called the game off after a pitch inspection. They turned round to go back to Euxton and the Brig players travelled there to play the game.

“Everyone was gutted but there was a lot of rain,” said McAvoy.

“Our youth team had played at 10.30 at Springfields and there was a lot of surface water on the pitch at the end.

“So we knew things were going to be tough. The guys at Bamber Bridge worked their socks off to try and get the pitch fit.”