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McAvoy's previous Barkhuizen decision was total disaster, now it's just what Preston need

It’s not even three months since Tom Barkhuizen’s stint at wing back against Hull City ended in disaster and question marks over boss Frankie McAvoy.

Most of us will remember that game – the opening fixture of this season.

Barkhuizen lined up as a right-sided wing back and it started well enough as he crossed for Emil Riis to score the opener.

That’s as good as it got.



Barkhuizen was regularly caught out by Hull’s star winger Keane Lewis-Potter, including for the equaliser as Lewis-Potter made a darting, untracked run in behind Barkhuizen to score.

The experiment only lasted 45 minutes as Barkhuizen was pushed up front.

Many expected Barkhuizen to be kept away from that wing back role, but McAvoy has done it again for the last two games.

Photo by Robin Jones – AFC Bournemouth/AFC Bournemouth via Getty Images

Totally different to Hull nightmare

Barkhuizen started at wing back against Luton Town and Bournemouth, with Preston winning both games.

Barkhuizen set up Emil Riis’s opener against Luton and supplied the cross for Ben Whiteman to bag against Bournemouth.

There were a number of occasions where Preston were able to break thanks to Barkhuizen pace and ability to carry the ball.

That eased the pressure on the back four, with Barkhuizen providing the attacking thrust Preston have needed.

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Sepp van den Berg has performed admirably at wing back, but he doesn’t quite have that ability to turn defence into attack like Barkhuizen.

There are still concerns over Barkhuizen’s defensive ability in that role, but with Van den Berg now at right-sided centre back, he has great protection.

Van den Berg is quick on the cover and comfortable in wide areas, adding stability behind Barkhuizen.

McAvoy would have been forgiven for never trying Barkhuizen at wing back again after that Hull game, but his decision has really paid off.

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