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Preston North End post-match notebook: Serious questions to be asked of Frankie

Preston North End travelled to London on Saturday backed by over 1,000 vociferous fans. They managed to come from 1-0 behind against Queens Park Rangers to lead 2-1 just after half time.

Josh Earl’s first goal in professional football had given the away side the lead. However, the Lilywhites couldn’t even hold on to a sixth successive draw.

The 3-2 defeat leaves PNE with just 11 points from the first 11 games and with just two wins. Three points above the relegation zone and already seven points away from the play-offs.

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Potts on for Maguire at 2-2? Why???

Not for the first time this season Frankie McAvoy brought on Brad Potts for a striker. Before the game the manager was quoted as saying “We need to start turning draws into wins”. Well he clearly forgot that. We were in a great position to win this game. QPR got back in it at 2-2 but it was still all to play for.

Seani Maguire had to come off injured after getting two assists in the game. Scott Sinclair and Josh Murphy were options on the bench to bring on. It would have meant QPR’s tired defence would have had to deal with some pace. Sinclair and Murphy are attacking players who would have pushed for the win.

Instead Potts came on. Now this is nothing against Brad Potts, I don’t mind him personally. But this was not a situation he should have been coming on for a striker.

It leaves Emil Riis isolated up front on his own and then the midfield overcrowded. It allows QPR to attack as we sit back and try and hold on.

Brad Potts started as a striker against Huddersfield Town. McAvoy clearly sees something that we don’t. He needs to explain that decision.

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Injuries a concern

Ali McCann was handed his first start in the league but only last half of the first period. He had to go off injured which is a huge shame. This was his opportunity to stake a claim for a regular starting place but we’ll wait and see how bad the injury is. Surprisingly Alan Browne came on instead of Ben Whiteman who McCann had replaced in the side.

Patrick Bauer went off at half time, replaced by Liam Lindsay. Those two players are like chalk and cheese. Without Bauer we are a much easier team to beat. Lindsay doesn’t look good enough for this level and should never been signed permanently. If there’s no Bauer in the side then the back 5 is incredibly worse off.

Maguire also had to go off injured which is a shame as he has enjoyed a good run of form including this game. Now we have to look forward to Brad Potts probably partnering Riis up front of Maguire’s injury keeps him out for a bit.

Will Sinclair and Murphy ever be used?

In Scott Sinclair and Josh Murphy we have two very good attacking players at this level. But they can’t show us that if they just stay on the bench. The team is lacking quality, creativity and flair.

Tom Barkhuizen can’t even get on the bench after McAvoy said he is back in full training. There’s only so much Maguire and Riis can do up front. Potts is unlikely to change a game drastically coming off the bench.

Murphy and Sinclair must be annoyed at not getting an opportunity. They would have fancied their chances at creating a goal for us.

Is Frankie scared to take a gamble? Or is he just tactically lacking?

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Summer recruitment is already a disaster

Matthew Olusunde hasn’t played a game yet because of injury. Izzy Brown is out for the season. Connor Wickham may not play again for us. Ali McCann is injured. Josh Murphy can’t get a game. Jamie Thomas isn’t even in the 25 man squad. Of course injuries are a cruel twist for anyone but it basically means this squad has not improved from last season, and it wasn’t very good then.

We are lacking at centre back, and there is too many players in this squad who don’t fit into Frankie’s favoured formation.

How long does Frankie get?

I don’t think our start to the season is much of a surprise to anyone. Of course we have aspirations of a great season pushing for the top six. Stranger things have happened, who would have thought Coventry City would be challenging at the top at this point?

McAvoy did well in his temporary spell and probably earned the opportunity, but there must have been better more experienced options out there. It’s a big job to jump into as your first when you’ve also said you never wanted to be a manager.

He’s happy to be here, which of course you would be. He’s in charge of a big club and may not see himself managing any higher than this. He’s enjoying himself and will be happy with every goal and point we pick up, which is why he’s been happy with a run of draws. A first time manager picking up points at Bramall Lane and at home to West Bromwich Albion is great for a near empty managerial CV.

Is that what we want though? Are our hopes not higher? Are we building towards something? This club is just ambling along at the moment. Doing just enough to survive. But the fans will soon show their feelings if things don’t start to improve.

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