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Preview: Blues v Preston North End

Success midweek would see the Club complete a first league double over the visitors since the 2000/01 season.

BCFC

Blues are back in Sky Bet Championship action as they welcome Preston North End to St. Andrew’s Trillion Trophy Stadium.

Hosting the Lilywhites on Wednesday night, 7.45pm kick-off, Aitor Karanka’s side will be determined to build on Saturday’s fully deserved 1-0 victory over Middlesbrough.

And the 99th meeting between the two sides comes on the back of October’s clash where Blues left Deepdale with all three points thanks to goals from Riley McGree and Gary Gardner, with the former scoring his first for Blues.

Preston come into the game without a win this calendar year and lost 2-0 in their most recent match against Bristol City on Saturday.

Success midweek would see the Blues complete a first league double over the visitors since the 2000/01 season. On that occasion, goals from Martin Grainger and Andrew Johnson in the reverse fixture meant Blues took six points off a team they would then take on in the end of the season play-offs.

THE OPPOSITION: 

Preston are in their fourth season under the guidance of Scotsman Alex Neil and will be hoping to better their finish of 2017/18 where they missed out on the play-offs by finishing seventh.

This term they lie eight points behind sixth and in thirteenth place ahead of their visit to B9, having lost their last two league matches. Before that, they had won three on the spin either side of Christmas, with the last of these being a 2-0 victory over Coventry City in their last game of 2020.

And in truth, that has been the theme of the Lilywhites’ season. Unbeaten runs are typically followed by losing ones, which has prevented them moving significantly upwards in the league table.

Despite this, Blues will need to be on high alert, especially if top scorer Scott Sinclair is involved. His seven goals have been vital to Preston’s success, but he hasn’t found the scoresheet since they put three past Middlesbrough in early December.

LAST TIME OUT: 

Blues claimed their first win of 2021 when they overcame Middlesbrough at the Riverside on Saturday lunchtime. Scott Hogan’s 26th-minute goal, which came courtesy of a superb team move, proved the difference, with Karanka’s men restricting Boro to just two attempts on goal in the second half. Victory was Blues’ first on Teesside since March 2013.

In contrast, Preston were unable to end their losing run as they went down 2-0 at Ashton Gate. Famara Diedhiou struck in the eight minute, with Dean Holden’s charges sealing victory inside the final quarter of an hour when Zak Vyner found the bottom corner. Preston came closest to scoring before the Robins’ second goal when Paul Huntingdon’s looping header hit the top of the crossbar.

WE MEET AGAIN:  

Blues 0 Preston North End 1, 21 September 2019

Blues will be hoping for a better outcome than the last time Preston visited.

In a tight affair, the visitor’s Sean Maguire scored the game’s only goal with the first shot on target. The frontman reacted quickest to Paul Gallagher’s free-kick in the 23rd minute.

The hosts looked to respond, and Maxime Colin was one of Blues’ best attacking threats, being unlucky to have a penalty appeal turned down by referee Steve Martin.

Alvaro Gimenez was introduced from the bench and came close to levelling for Blues, but Preston held on to leave the West Midland’s with all three points.

BLUES TEAM NEWS: 

Zach Jeacock (ankle), Caolan Boyd-Munce (thigh) and Gary Gardner (hamstring) are all out through injury. 

HEAD-TO-HEAD: 

Blues wins: 36

Draws: 23

Preston North End wins: 39

LAST FIVE MEETINGS: 

Championship 31 Oct 2021 – Preston North End 1 Blues 2

Championship 18 Jul 2020 – Preston North End 2 Blues 0

Championship 21 Sep 2019 – Blues 0 Preston North End 1 

Championship 16 Mar 2019 – Preston North End 1 Blues 0

Championship 01 Dec 2018- Blues 3 Preston North End 0

BLUESTV: 

Supporters can watch this game exclusively live on BluesTV for only £10. This match is not available on the Sky red button, so the only way to watch our clash with Preston is via BluesTV. 

MATCH OFFICIALS: 

Referee: Tony Harrington
Assistant Referees: Philip Dermott and Rob Smith
Fourth Official: Jeremy Simpson

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