Stick-or-twist time for Preston North End boss Frankie McAvoy ahead of Luton contest

Frankie McAvoy has some big selection calls to make for Preston North End’s clash with Luton in the wake of their last two performances.
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Only Sepp van den Berg and Andrew Hughes started both the Liverpool and Blackpool matches as Lilywhites head coach McAvoy rotated the squad for a Saturday/Wednesday/Saturday schedule.

With the team performing so much better against Liverpool than it did on the Fylde coast last week, there will be the temptation for McAvoy to stick with some of Wednesday night’s starters.

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Van den Berg, Ali McCann and Tom Barkhuizen were three in particular to catch the eye.

Preston North End’s Tom Barkhuizen challenges with Liverpool left-back Kostas TsimikasPreston North End’s Tom Barkhuizen challenges with Liverpool left-back Kostas Tsimikas
Preston North End’s Tom Barkhuizen challenges with Liverpool left-back Kostas Tsimikas

So the team-sheet could make for interesting reading at Deepdale tomorrow.

With only three league wins under their belt, it is a selection which McAvoy has to make the right calls with.

McAvoy said: “With us going Saturday/Wednesday/Saturday, we were always going to freshen it up against Liverpool – that was the plan.

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“I don’t feel anyone could question their commitment, hunger and desire in the Liverpool game, our shape was excellent.

“We limited them to very few chances and that is credit to the players, it’s difficult to keep your concentration against high-level teams.

“The performance will of course give me ideas for the Luton game. There is not a lot of difference between our players, that is quite a good thing at times.

“The difficult bit is getting that same sort of performance week in, week out.

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“Consistency is the big thing and we haven’t done well enough in the league, we haven’t won enough and we’ve drawn too many. That has to change quickly.”

Van den Berg did well in the three-man defence against his parent club, most of his football having previously come at right wing-back.

So the obvious temptation would be to leave him in the middle and fill the wing-back slot with someone else.

Said McAvoy said: “Sepp did very well, there were one or two scary moments but he played great overall.

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“He’s young, he is learning his trade, we have used him in the main as a wing-back because Jordan Storey has done well at right centre-back.

“Sepp has given me a dilemma for Saturday which is what I want.”

Sean Maguire dislocated a finger during the Liverpool game and had it put back in place on the pitch, that is not an issue for tomorrow.

McAvoy had been hoping to put Matthew Olosunde on the bench on Wednesday.

But Olosunde complained of a tight hamstring after playing in the reserves and will be out for a week.