Striker Ched Evans knows what is needed as Preston North End hit crunch time

Preston striker Ched Evans thinks confidence will be crucial to the Lilywhites finding their form in the remaining eight games.
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At least six points need to be found when action resumes after the international break to prevent PNE being drawn head-on into a relegation fight.

Ten defeats in 16 matches in 2021 points to confidence as well as form, having taken a huge dip.

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Restoring that confidence has formed a lot of the work interim head coach Frankie McAvoy has been doing on the training ground since taking over from Alex Neil.

PNE striker Ched EvansPNE striker Ched Evans
PNE striker Ched Evans

If it does return, Evans is of the view that results will come to help keep clear water between North End and the bottom three.

Evans said: “Frankie has got the respect of the players and staff. He’s the No.1 now and it is a case of moving forward.

“Frankie has been talking a lot with us about playing with confidence. When we do play with confidence, we are a really good team so we need that back.

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“In the last few weeks we were playing Saturdays and Tuesdays and not getting the results we wanted.

“When that happens it kind of knocks the confidence out of you.

“Probably in the last 10 games or so everyone’s confidence was low. If people weren’t playing they were getting annoyed and upset.

“Playing with confidence tends to lead to creating more chances, taking shots, your passing is better, you play on the front foot, not the back.

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“That has formed the basis of a lot of our work since Frankie took over.”

Evans, 32, was among the large batch of January signings made by PNE.

He joined from Fleetwood, initially on loan before turning the move permanent until the end of the season.

With Neil having signed him, Evans admits he was sad to see the Scot leave in the wake of the defeat to Luton.

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Said Evans: “The manager going was a shock, especially as he was the one who brought me in. I was gutted.

“With the backroom staff staying, it’s not been as much of a shake-up as can sometimes happen.

“We’ve got eight games to go, eight games to get some more points on the board.

“We need to be sticking the ball in the net, we need to be more solid at the back.

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“The manager did his utmost to make that happen but ultimately it came down to how we did it on the pitch.

“In some games I felt we could have fought more and created more chances.

“There were others, like at Middlesbrough, where for 25 minutes we were on top but then scored an own goal and had Alan Browne sent off for reacting to an elbow.”

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