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Predicted Preston North End lineup v Blackpool as Frankie McAvoy faces Tom Barkhuizen decision

Preston head to Blackpool this afternoon for the first meeting between the two sides in more than eight years.

The two sides haven’t met in the league since 2010, but did face off in the League Cup back in 2013.

Blackpool enter this game three points ahead of Preston, with North End desperate for a big result.

Frankie McAvoy’s side did beat Coventry City 2-1 in midweek, and now need to use that to build some momentum.

McAvoy faces big decisions with his lineup today – here’s our prediction for the Preston lineup.

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Goalkeeper

Daniel Iversen was a little shakier than usual in the first half against Coventry, but he will absolutely start against Blackpool barring a late injury or illness.

Iversen has been in great form in recent weeks, keeping Preston in the game against Derby County with a string of saves.

Declan Rudd offers great cover behind Iversen, but looks unlikely to start today.

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Back three

It’s hard to imagine McAvoy moving away from the 3-4-1-2 system, with a back three expected to start at Blackpool.

Jordan Storey, Patrick Bauer and Andrew Hughes have been the first-choice back three for most of the season.

They have mostly worked well together as a unit and will surely start again this afternoon.

Liam Lindsay was on the bench against Coventry and will likely offer cover from the bench again.

Wing backs

Sepp van den Berg may want to play as a centre back moving forward, but looks likely to continue as a right wing back today.

Matthew Olosunde isn’t ready yet, and it doesn’t seem likely that Tom Barkhuizen will be deployed there.

On the left, Josh Earl has made that position his own, leaving Greg Cunningham on the bench.

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Midfield trio

McAvoy started the season with two central midfielders and a number 10, but it was more of a lone holder with two midfielders either side against Coventry.

That meant Ben Whiteman started in front of the back four, and he turned in a superb performance on his return to the team.

Daniel Johnson kept the side ticking over and Alan Browne looked more like his usual self, so we would back the same midfield again.

It doesn’t sound like Ali McCann will be in contention, but Ryan Ledson will be available from the bench.

In attack

Emil Riis scored once again on Wednesday night, and the Dane should be leading Preston’s attack at Blackpool.

His partner is the big conundrum ahead of today’s game.

Scott Sinclair started in midweek, but was pretty ineffectual. Tom Barkhuizen had started against Derby, but it didn’t really work for him.

Josh Murphy is another shout in attack, though Ched Evans and Connor Wickham remain out.

Just for the chance for him to score against his former club, we’ll go with Barkhuizen up top – he will surely be desperate to haunt Blackpool today.

Photo by Alex Dodd – CameraSport via Getty Images

The bench

Rudd, Lindsay, Cunningham, Ledson, Brad Potts, Sinclair and Murphy would be the bench in this situation.

That gives North End cover across the pitch, with Potts offering real versatility if needed against his former club.

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