Photo by Alex Dodd - CameraSport via Getty Images

Predicted Preston lineup v Middlesbrough: Two changes as McAvoy fights to avoid the sack

Preston North End are back in action tonight as they travel to take on Middlesbrough at the Riverside Stadium.

This could be make or break for boss Frankie McAvoy. Lancs Live claim that defeat to Boro tonight could lead to McAvoy’s exit.

A trip to Boro is never easy, and North End have had some dismal trips there in the past.

McAvoy must hope for success tonight to ultimately try and save his job, but is going up against new Boro boss Chris Wilder.

Wilder is famed for his 3-5-2 setup, so North End will surely go the same way again tonight.

Here is how we think Preston will line up on Teesside tonight…

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Goalkeeper

Daniel Iversen is one of the top goalkeepers in the Championship and will start again for Preston tonight.

Declan Rudd has picked up an injury blow, and with former Boro goalkeeper Connor Ripley not in the squad, Mathew Hudson could be on the bench.

Centre backs

McAvoy will surely play the 3-5-2 system, with Patrick Bauer in the heart of his back line.

The best setup Preston have is Sepp van den Berg to Bauer’s right and Andrew Hughes on the left, so that should be the team again tonight.

Jordan Storey and Paul Huntington are other options at the back, as is Liam Lindsay.

PRESTON, ENGLAND – NOVEMBER 20: Preston North End head coach Tom Barkhuizen looks dejected at the final whistle during the Sky Bet Championship match between Preston North End and Cardiff City at Deepdale on November 20, 2021 in Preston, England. (Photo by Rich Linley – CameraSport via Getty Images)

Wing backs

Tom Barkhuizen has been playing at right wing back of late, and his superb display in the recent away win at Bournemouth means he should feature again.

Greg Cunningham was brought in at left wing back against Cardiff City, but Josh Earl’s extra height, athleticism and attacking ability may be needed tonight.

Midfield

Ali McCann and Alan Browne look nailed on to start; they are favourites of McAvoy and have been in decent form of late.

Ben Whiteman is back from suspension tonight, and we would expect him to slot straight back into midfield.

That means Ryan Ledson and Daniel Johnson both missing out in McAvoy’s engine room.

Photo by Rich Linley – CameraSport via Getty Images

Attack

This should be a fairly easy selection barring any late problems, as Emil Riis and Seani Maguire are Preston’s most in-form attackers.

Ched Evans could return to the squad after a lengthy lay-off but would have no business starting tonight.

That would leave Hudson, Storey, Cunningham, Ledson, Johnson, Scott Sinclair and Brad Potts as our predicted bench, though Matthew Olosunde could come into the thinking.

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