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Opposition report: Preston North End

Blues will look to make it back-to-back wins at St. Andrew's this evening.

BCFC

A closer look at Preston North End....

FORM GUIDE

Preston are a side that have blown hot and cold throughout the Sky Bet Championship season. The Lilywhites have lost their last three games; scoring just once in the process. Although winless in 2021, Preston went on a 3 game winning streak towards the end of 2020, beating Coventry, Derby and Bristol City, before failing to win a game in the three before that. 

On Saturday, Preston were defeated 2-0 away at Bristol City. 

All-in-all, Alex Neil's men have played twenty-four league games this season, winning ten, drawing 2 and losing twelve. 

Goals-wise, they've scored thirty and conceded thirty-three. 

IN THE DUGOUT 

Alex Neil is the man in the Deepdale dugout and has been for a little while now, having joined the club in the summer of 2017. Since then, he's led the team to 7th, 14th and 9th placed finishes in the table.

Before his time in Lancashire, The Scotsman had managed at Norwich City, taking the Canaries back to the Premier League in the 2014/15 season and before that, winning the Scottish Championship Play-Offs with Hamilton Academical, whom he featured heavily for during his playing days as a midfielder. 

ONE TO WATCH 

Former Swansea, Man City and Aston Villa winger Scott Sinclair has posed Preston's biggest goal threat this season. Typically playing out wide as part of a front four, the former England U21 man has bagged seven goals this season, including an audacious forty yard lob in a 3-2 away win over Bournemouth in December. 

Comfortable with both his left and right foot, he's not afraid to cut in off the flank, often linking up to good effect with Maguire, Johnson and Barkuizen.

Before joining PNE, Sinclair had dispatched sixty two goals in 167 games for Celtic.

PREVIOUS KNOCKINGS

The head-to-head record between the sides is a close one over the years. The teams first met all the way back in 1894 in the old League Division One, where Blues took a 1-0 away win back to the Midlands.

Including that game, there have been ninety eight meetings between them, 39 going in favour of Preston, with 36 Blues wins and 23 draws. 

LAST TIME OUT 

A late Gary Gardner strike sealed all 3 points for Blues when they travelled to Deepdale at the end of October, the score finishing 2-1 to Aitor Karanka's team.

Riley McGree had opened his account for the Blues with a low, left-footed effort, before Jayden Stockley scored his first goal of the season to level before half time. 

But Mikel San Jose's superb 85th minute cross found Gardner at the back post to secure the win for Blues and all three points on the road. 

DID YOU KNOW? 

Preston North End played their first game at Deepdale in 1878, meaning the stadium now holds the distinction of having the longest continuous use for association football in the world.

At one point, it was one the only stadium in England to feature a plastic pitch, but after 8 years it was ripped up after it proved unpopular with fans and players.

But on the 18th May in 1994, North End brought their plastic pitch era to a dramatic conclusion. 

They beat Torquay 4-1 in the Third Division play-off semi-final second leg, having trailed 2-0 from the first leg in South Devon.

Supporters swarmed onto the pitch at the final whistle of extra time to celebrate going to Wembley and to get one last glimpse of the plastic pitch, which had been underfoot since the summer of 1986.

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