It hasn’t been the easiest season for Frankie McAvoy so far at Preston North End, but there have been some signs that the Lilywhites could indeed push on into the top half of the table soon.
Like many clubs in the Championship this season, PNE have been wildly inconsistent and for some of the results and performances that the club have put in on the pitch McAvoy has copped most of the flak.
November has been a mixed bag with a win over Bournemouth and on Saturday a well-earned point against table-topping Fulham, but losses against Cardiff and Nottingham Forest have put a dampener on things.
December is fast approaching with a whole host of fixtures coming up – let’s see what dilemmas McAvoy has about his squad going into the new month.
Quiz: 30 questions about Preston North End’s best strikers from the last 5 years – Can you score 30/30?
Ched Evans to start?
December starts with a huge Lancashire derby clash against Blackburn Rovers, and McAvoy has a big decision to make at the top end of the pitch.
Emil Riis is one of the first names on the team-sheet but it’s who plays alongside him in a 3-5-2 formation that the Scot needs to make a decision over.
For the most part it has been Sean Maguire supporting the Dane but the return of Ched Evans has sparked some new energy into the side.
The 32-year-old has two goals in two games off the bench for the Lilywhites and his impact against Fulham was undeniable and considering he picked up the Man of the Match award against Rovers last season, a start against them is inevitable and he will probably retain his place for the whole month.
Sepp or Olosunde for right-wing-back?
After coming back into the side earlier in the month, Tom Barkhuizen has been a regular feature at right-wing-back but it looks like he could be out for a while with a leg injury.
He left Deepdale on crutches after a wild tackle by Fulham’s Antonee Robinson which will mean he needs to be replaced.
When Barkhuizen was on the sidelines earlier in the season it was Sepp van den Berg who slotted into the wing-back role pretty well, but PNE signed Matthew Olosunde from Rotherham in the summer and he is finally fit to play matches.
Barkhuizen’s setback may be the perfect time for Olosunde to come in and make an impact, although his fitness levels will no doubt not be there right now to last a full 90 minutes but in December we will almost certainly see his North End debut.