Despite there being a bit of apathy surrounding the fanbase of the club this summer, Preston North End go into the 2021-22 Championship season on the back of a four game winning streak to end the previous campaign.
Frankie McAvoy has taken up the permanent role of head coach at Deepdale and he will welcome newly-promoted Hull City tomorrow knowing that it could have been a lot tougher on paper for his first match in charge in-front of a crowd.
Not much has changed in the way of PNE’s squad since the end of last season, with just Matthew Olosunde, Izzy Brown and Jamie Thomas the new additions since then.
And as it stands it’s unlikely any will be playing a part this Saturday – Olosunde is still recovering from a knock picked up in pre-season, Brown is out for a long period of time after rupturing his achilles whilst Thomas has just signed from non-league Bamber Bridge and it may take him a good while to get up to speed.
It makes the predicted line-up for North End pretty simply and it’s one that will look familiar to the back end of the 2020-21 campaign.
With Olosunde’s injury it perhaps leaves McAvoy with a dilemma at right-wing-back – he could utilise a more attacking player like Tom Barkhuizen there or Sepp van den Berg could shuffle across there despite his role this season being a right-sided centre-back.
The Dutch teenager impressed at wing-back under McAvoy but it has been stated that he will be tried in his natural position of centre-back this season, which could pave the way for Barkhuizen to feature down the right instead.
The rest of the team pretty much picks itself and thanks to his stunning performances last season, Daniel Iversen will be expected to slot right back into the starting line-up after his loan return from Leicester City.
It is perhaps unfortunate on Declan Rudd but the Dane’s importance to the team cannot be underestimated.
The one final big dilemma position is the attacking midfield role, with club captain Alan Browne favoured to get the nod ahead of Brad Potts and Daniel Johnson – the latter who has been playing for Jamaica in the Gold Cup this summer.