Head coach Frankie McAvoy is expecting Chris Wilder to set his new Middlesbrough side up similarly to how he operated at Sheffield United when PNE go to Teesside on Tuesday evening.
Wilder, who took the Blades to the Premier League in 2019 before then taking them to ninth in the top flight the following season, has recently taken over from Neil Warnock at Middlesbrough.
The 54-year-old has only taken charge of one game so far – last weekend’s draw against Millwall – but Frankie already has an idea of how he will set them up going forward.
He told iFollow PNE: “He’s a good manager, isn’t he? He did fantastically well at Sheffield United, brilliant to be fair.
“He’s a lovely man and a top coach. Obviously we’ve seen Middlesbrough’s game on Saturday against Millwall [and he went for] 3-5-2 which was his preferred option at Sheffield United as well, so it will be a tough game, as they all are.
“What we need to do is go there and hopefully put in the same type of performance that we did at Bournemouth.
“The disappointing fact for me is that after we beat Luton and we beat Bournemouth, we lost the next two which has been disappointing to be honest, so hopefully we can put in another performance away from home against a tough opponent again.
“We know how Chris has done in the past with his teams. We’ve seen how they set up on Saturday, we had somebody at the game and we watched the game yesterday so we know it’ll be a tough game.
“We know how they set up, how they play and that 3-5-2 system did him really well at Sheffield United and he went for the same in his first game at Middlesbrough.
“Again, it’ll be a tough ask but we’ll go and give our utmost to go and try and win the game.”
North End head to the Riverside following consecutive defeats against Nottingham Forest and Cardiff City either side of the international break.
With one away win on the board so far this season, Frankie is looking for his side to bring the three points back to Lancashire with them.
He said: “We're looking to win. We’ve lost our last two, but in the last six we’ve won three and lost three which we’d hoped to be a bit better, but at the end of the day we are where we are.
“I’m not going to sit here and make any excuses. We’ve not done enough, we’ve not done well enough or as well as I’d hoped we would have done.
“I’d hoped we would be higher up the league, unfortunately we’re not. We’re on 21 points and what we need to try and do is get more points on the board as quickly as we can and that starts on Tuesday night, and then after that it’s on to Saturday.”
PNE’s last game was the weekend’s defeat to Cardiff City at the weekend and in the aftermath of the fixture, there were suggestions that the head coach had made a gesture towards supporters, which Frankie addressed in his pre-match interview on Monday morning.
“We’re under pressure to win games,” he said. “It’s not just about me as the coach – obviously the flak comes my way and I accept that – but the one thing I can assure you I didn’t do on Saturday was make a gesture to the supporters.
“It’s not in my nature and I would never do that. I don’t know where it’s come from. Apparently someone’s reported that I’ve done something with my ears.
“I always rub my ears if anyone watches me [they will know that] so I just want to put that to bed.
“It’s never in my nature, I would never do anything like that and I’m disappointed that people would try and use that because that’s not me.”
Hear more from Frankie on iFollow PNE above.