The transfer window is now closed and for the majority of deadline day it looked like Preston North End were going to have a very disappointing close to proceedings.
There wasn’t much coming out of the club in terms of business and the closer 11pm on August 31 got, the less likely it looked that Frankie McAvoy was going to be able to strengthen his squad.
However a late curveball was delivered with the loan arrival of Josh Murphy from Cardiff City and the permanent acquisition of St Johnstone’s Northern Ireland international midfielder Ali McCann, who arrived for a fee which could reach over £1.75 million.
Those two late additions means that on the face of it, PNE’s squad looks to have a decent amount of depth – but what is McAvoy’s best 11?
Following the first three league matches of the season, it would have been really difficult to select North End’s best starting line-up, however back-to-back league wins have made it quite simple.
In-between the sticks there is strong competition between Daniel Iversen and the long-serving Declan Rudd, however it is the former that is probably the more talented and the Leicester City loanee is arguably one of the top goalkeepers in the Championship.
12 of these 25 Preston North End facts are fake – Can you identify them?
As for North End’s defence, they did not strengthen before the end of the window in that department but the trio of Jordan Storey, Patrick Bauer and Andrew Hughes seem to be doing a solid enough job, with Liam Lindsay and Paul Huntington able to deputise.
Teenage Liverpool defender Sepp van den Berg was supposed to be tried as a right-sided centre-back this season but he has ended up back at right-wing-back again and he’s excelling in that role, so Matthew Olosunde has a tough ask to displace the Dutchman when he’s fit.
On the other side of the pitch, Josh Earl has taken over from the more experienced Greg Cunningham recently and has put in impressive performances which means that the Republic of Ireland international has some work to do to get his place back in McAvoy’s plans.
Things start to get more complicated in midfield, where McCann has just arrived and despite coming as a highly-regarded player, the midfield duo of Ryan Ledson and Ben Whiteman cannot be broken up right now – although inevitably after four bookings already this season Ledson will soon be serving a one-match ban which will give McCann his chance.
In-front of Whiteman and Ledson is usually an attacking midfielder and after some poor performances to start the season, Alan Browne has made way (although he was forced out after having to self-isolate) for Daniel Johnson, who is still going strong at Deepdale after over six years of service.
The Jamaica international is back to his very best from what it appears and club captain Browne has a lot of work to do to get back in McAvoy’s plans, with Brad Potts also vying for game-time in the same position.
Despite not getting the out-and-out striker many craved on deadline day, North End still have a lot of depth in that area of the pitch.
With five goals to his name already this season, Emil Riis is a guaranteed starter but who plays alongside the Dane? Do you go with the target man abilities of Ched Evans or a more pacey forward in Tom Barkhuizen, Josh Murphy or Scott Sinclair?
Right now it has to be none of those though, instead Sean Maguire who ran himself into the ground against Swansea City is definitely the right foil for the goalscoring exploits of Riis but there could be lots of chopping and changing in that area of the pitch in the next few months.