The international break probably came at the wrong time for Preston North End, who went into it on the back of three successive wins in all competitions.
After losing their opening three league matches, the Lilywhites finally found their feet with wins against Peterborough United and Swansea City in what seemed like a completely different side to the ones that was soundly beaten by Hull City and lost out to Huddersfield and Reading.
The games don’t get any easier for PNE though as they have seven matches between this coming Saturday and the next international break in October, starting with an away clash with Bristol City.
Ashton Gate is a stadium that North End usually get results at and after making some deadline day signings, McAvoy may have some tough decisions to make this weekend.
Let’s look at two tweaks the Scot may make ahead of the long trip south to take on Nigel Pearson’s side.
Throw Ali McCann straight in?
It looked as though for most of deadline day there would be no business at Deepdale – only for the club to pull two rabbits out of the hat very late in the day.
One of those in Josh Murphy on loan from Cardiff has already appeared in a PNE shirt, having featured in a reserve match yesterday against Walsall but patience may be required for the 26-year-old as he builds his fitness up.
Ali McCann though is the real exciting one as he joins for a seven-figure fee from Scottish club St Johnstone.
In the Northern Ireland international, PNE may have finally found their natural Ben Pearson successor and even though he will only return from international duty on Thursday or Friday, could McAvoy throw a curveball and put McCann straight into the team?
It seems unlikely but you never know…
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A different strike partner for Riis?
After only scoring twice last season, Emil Riis has started the 2021/22 season on fire, netting five times from seven outings in both league and cup matches and right now he’s the undisputed first-choice up-front for McAvoy.
It’s just a case of who plays alongside him which is the tough decision, and despite Sean Maguire running himself into the ground against Swansea he’s not a guarantee to start.
There’s Scott Sinclair, Tom Barkhuizen, Jacob Murphy and even Ched Evans vying for a spot if they’re all fit and even though Maguire and Riis looked like a good partnership against Swansea, McAvoy could opt for something different alongside the Dane on Saturday.