‘We need to be more clinical in front of goal’ says Preston North End boss Frankie McAvoy

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Frankie McAvoy is looking for more of a cutting edge from his side as they welcome Peterborough United this afternoon.

North End continue their Championship campaign at Deepdale (3pm), looking for their first points of the season.

They face a side managed by former PNE boss Darren Ferguson, who led Posh to a second-placed finish in League One last season.

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They were pegged back in their previous game, a 2-2 draw with Cardiff City deep into stoppage time.

Tom Barkhuizen has been missing as a result of a Covid-19 diagnosisTom Barkhuizen has been missing as a result of a Covid-19 diagnosis
Tom Barkhuizen has been missing as a result of a Covid-19 diagnosis

Posh are known in recent years for their attacking potency – striker Jonson Clarke-Harris scored 31 goals last season – but PNE boss McAvoy wants to focus on his side.

North End had their chances in midweek and didn’t take them, and this weekend must be different. “It’ll be a tough game, Darren has got them working hard, they did great last season,” McAvoy said.

“They have front players who are energetic – in fact, the whole team look energetic.

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“They play three at the back as well and it’ll be a really tough match. They will come here in good spirits, they’ve picked up four points – which is four more than us.

“We need to make sure that we’re clinical.

“He’s (Ferguson) done really well at Peterborough, got them promoted last season, and they’ve come up and sometimes when you come up from a lower league you play without fear. You can see that in the group.

“What we’ve got to do is make sure we stand up and be counted, make sure we’re up for the fight and we’ll do everything we can to put out a team which we believe will win the game.”

PNE confirmed on Thursday that Tom Barkhuizen will continue to be absent due to suffering from Covid. Previously the club have only communicated that he has been isolating due to medical confidentiality.

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It is likely that the winger still needs a period of time before feeling well again, which is then followed by a phased return to training, which takes seven to nine days.

“We have a few little knocks and bumps that we’ll assess and hopefully we’ll have a full squad to pick from on Saturday,” McAvoy said.

“Hopefully it’ll be good to have two home games in a row, but that all depends on Saturday. I don’t want to look too far ahead.

“We’ve got to concentrate on the one coming up, which is Peterbroough, and give them every respect that they’re due.

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“At the same time, we’re at home. I said at the start of the season, let’s make Deepdale a really hard place to come to.

“I thought the fans in the first game were excellent and we didn’t do well enough. I just hope that they can continue to back us on Saturday.”

“I can tell you honestly we will give our all to win the game.

“Fans want to see your team winning, and I understand that completely, I want to see my team winning, the players want to win.

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“But you’ve no divine right to win a game. You have to earn the right to win it and make sure you’re the best that you can be on that day.

“You hope, with a bit of fortune, that things turn your way.

“If you look at the results in the Championship, anyone is capable of beating anybody on their day.

“You have to do your talking on the pitch, and we have not done it well enough.

“Hopefully, and I’m confident that we can do it, we do it on Saturday.”