In what was supposed to be a hugely competitive Lancashire derby at Bloomfield Road yesterday afternoon, only one team turned up and that was Blackpool.
Their opposition in Preston North End had precious few chances and they were struck down by goals either side of half-time from Keshi Anderson and Gary Madine.
Whilst PNE’s players can’t be criticised for a lack of effort, for the most part they were outclassed by their neighbours at the other end of the M55 and they were full value for their victory.
Let’s look at three things we learnt about North End following their dismal showing against the Tangerines.
Frankie McAvoy not tactically astute enough?
As it is widely known this is Frankie McAvoy’s first job as a head coach after being an assistant for most of his career, and right now it is showing.
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The Scot has to learn on the job but he has made some decisions during matches that just haven’t come off, and yesterday was a perfect example of that.
From what we’ve seen of McAvoy’s tactics, he rarely budges from the 3-5-2 or 5-3-2 that has been used since his days as caretaker head coach, and despite some calls to change it he lined up in the same way yesterday.
In the second half though PNE were putting pressure on Blackpool and had a glorious chance through Ben Whiteman – but then McAvoy switched to a 4-4-2 and then just a few minutes after that the Seasiders bagged their second goal.
It seemed like a poor time to change things and it proved to be the case and it’s had his tactical nous called into question.
Emil Riis cannot do it all on his own
Much was made of North End needing a new striker over the summer, but no out-and-out front-man arrived, with wide player Josh Murphy being brought in.
Thankfully one man has stepped up to the plate and that is Emil Riis, who scored just twice last season in his first campaign in senior English football but has already eclipsed that and then some, scoring nine times in all competitions so far.
The Dane can make something out of nothing but it’s clear that he needs more support around him going forward – he had some half-chances yesterday and also supplied Whiteman for his spurned opportunity but he can’t do it all by himself.
Fans want McAvoy out
The sounds from the away end were loud and clear following Blackpool’s second goal and at full-time – a lot think that time is up for McAvoy.
He was given the job on the strength of his results at the back end of the 2020-21 season, but they were mainly dead rubber matches and there were doubts because of that if he could replicate it when it really mattered.
One win in the last nine matches is suggesting that he can’t do so and although he may be a nice character, it may not be enough to get PNE out of danger.
The Championship table is close right now but from what we have seen, North End look like they will struggle if they continue the way they are and the fans have made their voices very clear.