Wingers are difficult to fit into Preston North End's current formation admits Frankie McAvoy

Frankie McAvoy admits some of the wingers in Preston North End’s squad have had to be sacrificed because of the formation he has used to guide them to Championship safety.

Monday, 26th April 2021, 4:45 pm

McAvoy has started with a 3-5-2 in five of the six games he has been interim head coach.

The exception was his first match against Norwich City when he used 4-1-3-2 system, while he abandoned three at the back when 2-0 down against Brentford and saw his side lose 5-0.

The width in the 3-5-2 comes from wing-backs, with Tom Barkhuizen, Sepp van den Berg and Greg Cunningham filling the roles at different stages.

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Anthony Gordon in action for Preston North End against Wycombe in March

That has restricted the use of Scott Sinclair and Anthony Gordon, so too Billy Bodin

Top scorer Sinclair’s last start was against Norwich when he played at the top of the diamond in midfield.

Nine-goal Sinclair came on as a substitute against Swansea and Brentford but has been an unused sub for the last three matches.

Gordon, on loan from Everton since February, has featured twice as a sub under McAvoy, against Swansea and Brentford.

The 20-year-old’s last start was in Alex Neil’s final game in charge against Luton Town.

Bodin, who is out of contract this summer and has had an injury-hit season, got a brief run-out as a sub in the Brentford game.

He was an unused sub in the Norwich, Swansea and Stoke games but was not in the matchday 20 against Derby or Coventry.

McAvoy said: “I know that I can’t please everybody – I understand that.

“That is one of the difficult things about the job.

“You are having to leave players out, we have lads in wide areas who can’t get in. I just feel we are a bit too open when we play that way if I’m being honest.

“I’ve had to find a formation which gives us the best chance to win a game and at the moment the three at the back and two up top gives us that platform.

“Credit to the lads for the way they have adapted to what we’ve asked of them.

“Hopefully they can carry the good form into the next game against Barnsley.”

As things stand it would seem unlikely that Gordon will return on loan next season having been limited to five starts and six appearances from the bench.

Sinclair can play as a striker, as he did in the closing stages of the 1-0 win against Swansea.

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