Which Preston North End players could benefit from the change of manager at Deepdale?

The team sheet for Preston North End’s Good Friday clash with Norwich City will make for interesting reading.

Sunday, 28th March 2021, 7:00 am

It is the first chance for Frankie McAvoy to put his stamp on the team, put into practice the tweaks and changes no doubt made behind the scenes during training at Euxton.

Presumably McAvoy will try something a bit different in an attempt to shake the Lilywhites out of their slump in form, once which cost Alex Neil his job.

For interim head coach McAvoy to preserve with the approach used by Neil in last knockings of his reign, would be pointless.

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Preston North End striker Emil Riis

Banging it long for Ched Evans to do battle with the opposition centre-halves in the hope of second balls being picked up, brought little reward.

A solitary point from the last 15 on offer, is the proof it didn’t work.

So an alternative route is needed, perhaps leaning more on the counter-attacking and pressing game which PNE have shown they can do rather well.

Look at the two goals they scored in the second half of their win against Huddersfield, the ball moved from box to box quickly and on the floor.

Tom Bayliss in action for PNE against Wycombe in the FA Cup in January

Might there be an ace or two up McAvoy’s sleeve in terms of giving someone a chance who had not been in the picture under Neil?

That can be a way for an interim or caretaker just to make people stand up and take notice, underline that a few things have changed.

At the moment, North End are in the routine of not winning and they need shaking out of that routine.

So who might benefit from the change at the top, from a different pair of lead eyes looking at things.

Emil Riis is one, the Dane someone who can help shake things up going forward.

His last start was the 4-0 defeat at Cardiff and he was hooked at half-time.

Since then the striker has made four appearances from the bench, totalling 52 minutes – 35 of those coming at Middlesbrough.

Against Luton, a game in which the only goal came seven minutes of time, Riis was an unused sub. We saw in the early weeks of his time as a PNE player what he was capable of.

Riis is more effective when there is a bit of space to run into rather than when a defence drops deep and he’s pinned up against them.

Could we see more of Tom Bayliss? Sightings of the young midfielder so far have been few and far between.

The plan appeared to be for him to get more football this season after having to show plenty of patience in his first campaign.

One Championship start and seven appearances off the bench shows that has not been the case.

Jayson Molumby has been used sparingly of late, that a surprise when he’s on loan from a Premier League club and auditioning for a move full-time in the summer.

Could there be room for the energetic Irishman in midfield? There are vacancies with Alan Browne still having two games of his suspension to serve and Paul Gallagher now coaching.

A real left field shout is Billy Bodin, the winger’s late run in the Luton game only a third appearance in the league this season.

Bodin's contract is ticking down and he's in last chance saloon to change minds.

Roll on 2pm on Norwich for the release of the team-sheet.

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