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Match Previews

PREVIEW: Preston North End Vs Barnsley

8 September 2017

The Reds head to Deepdale tomorrow and here we take a look at our hosts...

Preston North End

The name Preston North End will forever be embedded in the history of the Football League. As one of the founding members of the competition, the Lancashire club won the title in its inaugural season and did so without losing a game. In the same season, the Lilywhites won the FA Cup without conceding a goal, becoming the first team to complete a league and cup double in English football history.

Having finished 11th in the Championship two seasons on the bounce, they have established themselves back in the division and are now looking to maintain their consistency.
After a solid start to this campaign, they lie 7th in the table, and with Alex Neil at the helm - a manager with a promotion to the Premier League already under his belt - a Play-Off finish looks a realistic target.

Playing Style

Preston have proved a tough nut to crack this season, having conceded just one goal in their opening five league games. Neil has lined the team up in a couple of different formations but the most effective has been 4-1-4-1.

With a holding midfielder to sit in front of the back four, there is huge stability to the defensive side of their game. The holding midfielder also provides cover in the centre and allows Preston to crowd out the opposing midfield.

Despite playing with just one up top, their attacking threat is boosted by putting forward-minded players on the wings in order to support the striker. It’s this balance throughout the team makes them a force to be reckoned with.

The Squad

No Goalkeeper in the league has kept more clean sheets than Chris Maxwell (4) this season, and the Preston number one has put in some eye-catching performances so far this term.

With plenty of Football League experience between them, Paul Huntington and Tommy Spurr provide a solid backbone to the side and this has been demonstrated by their early season performances.

Daniel Johnson is a very capable central midfield player. Whilst he is a competent defender, his eye for goal from long-range makes him a danger to any side when he gets forward from midfield.

Despite attracting interest from many clubs in the transfer window, Preston kept hold of frontman Jordan Hugill. Having scored three goals in all competitions already this season he is an integral part of the team and a huge threat to the Reds defence.

In The Dugout

Former Barnsley player Alex Neil is the man in the opposing dugout. Having made 121 appearances over four years for the Club, Reds fans will remember him well.

After retiring from football, Neil began his managerial career at Hamilton Academical in 2013.
In 2014 he guided the club back to the Scottish Premiership after a play-off victory over Hibernian.

In January 2015, Neil took the job as Norwich City manager and at the time became the second youngest manager in the Football League at the age of 33.
His side went on to gain 17 wins from 25 games and gained promotion to the Premier League via a 2-0 Play-Off Final victory over Middlesbrough.

The Canaries lasted just a season in the Premier League and Neil had his contract terminated in March of this year. On 4th July he was appointed as manager of Preston.

Five games in to his reign and things are looking good for the Lilywhites. With the best defence in the league and a manager who has been there and done it when it comes to promotion, they could quite well be one of the dark horses of the Championship this season.

The Stats

Preston have lost three of their last four home meetings against the Reds, including a 2-1 defeat at Deepdale last season.
Barnsley have never kept a clean sheet in an away league game at Deepdale in 24 attempts, conceding exactly once in each of their last four games.
In five league games this season, Preston have seen just three goals scored (2F 1A).


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