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City are, in theory, behind their rivals with regards to preparations for the new season having yet to take to the pitch since the summer break.
Nevertheless, a lack of game time did not hinder Pep Guardiola‘s side during the last campaign, and the Spaniard is unlikely to be too concerned at this stage.
The biggest blow came when a coronavirus outbreak among the club’s academy players forced Guardiola to rethink his plans for the short trip to Deepdale.
Guardiola wanted to assess some of his prospects at the Etihad Stadium, but he will now use the behind-closed-doors fixture to get his senior players up to speed ahead of the Community Shield on August 8.
After representing their respective nations at Euro 2020 and the Copa America, as many as eight City players are yet to return to training.
Ruben Dias, Bernardo Silva and Nathan Ake are also unlikely to be involved in this fixture with their return to club duty scheduled for Monday.
However, Benjamin Mendy, Fernandinho and Riyad Mahrez are all expected to feature in the game at City’s Academy Stadium.
While McAvoy made widespread changes during the game with Accrington Stanley, the Preston head coach should name his strongest team for this contest.
Thomas, who has been allowed to continue training with the Championship outfit, could be given an opportunity from the substitutes’ bench.