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Match Previews

PREVIEW: PRESTON NORTH END (H)

15 August 2014

The Iron host Simon Grayson’s Preston North End at the weekend, as they look to get back to winning ways in the league.

After losing the season opener 3-1 at Swindon, Russ Wilcox’s side will be full of confidence after beating Sky Bet Championship club Blackburn Rovers in the first round of the Capital One Cup.

The Claret and Blue snatched a 1-0 win at Ewood Park to edge past Gary Bowyer’s side into the second round of the competition and it will give them a boost as they return to league action against the Lilywhites at Glanford Park.

Despite an opening day draw, they arrive in North Lincolnshire as one of the favourites to win the league under the management of Grayson, who has won promotion from the third tier with three different clubs in just nine years as a manager.

His successes have come with Blackpool, Leeds and Huddersfield, teams he also helped to remain in the Championship and Preston fans have faith in the man at the helm.

Notts County held Preston to a 1-1 opening day draw at Deepdale and they will be aiming to get their first win of the season as soon as possible.

The last meeting between Preston and Scunthorpe was in 2012/13, when the Iron were last in League One. We were beaten 3-2 at Glanford Park before losing 3-0 at Deepdale and we will be looking for revenge by doing the double over the Lilywhites this season.

They finished last year in a very commendable fifth, losing in the play-off semi-final to Rotherham.

North End had the second fewest defeats in the whole of Sky Bet League One in 2013/14 and they will be tough to break down again this season.

They also have a former Iron as their key player in Joe Garner. The one-time loanee played 18 times for the Claret and Blue in half a season in 2011 and he was Preston’s top scorer last term with 24 goals in all competitions. He will no doubt be key for them in the coming nine months.

They also have a chief string-puller in Neil Kilkenny. He likes to sit deep in midfield and control the play, be it short simple passes, or long defence-splitting through balls.

The Iron will have to be switched on defensively to stop Kilkenny putting Garner through on goal, although the visitors will also have to be switched on, with the lively Paddy Madden and Lyle Taylor upfront, who caused Blackburn Rovers on Tuesday evening.

Deon Burton also poses a threat with his experience and if he can shake off his injury, he can also prove to be a menace, as can Gary McSheffrey and Jennison Myrie-Williams on the wings.

The league’s official sponsor, Sky Bet, edge the visitors as the favourites, at 13/10 to leave Lincolnshire with all three points and the Iron are 2/1 to win. A draw can be had at 23/10.

Preston are 8/1 to win the league outright and Russ Wilcox’s men are 11/1 for promotion.

Elsewhere, Bristol City, Chesterfield and Coventry will host Colchester, Rochdale and Sheff Utd respectively this weekend, while Swindon Barnsley and Port Vale will visit Crawley, Crewe and Doncaster respectively.

Gillingham, who lost on the opening day to MK Dons, will play Yeovil, who lost to Doncaster last time out.

Of last year’s other promoted sides, Fleetwood will travel to Notts County at Meadow Lane and Leyton Orient, who narrowly missed out on play-off success at Wembley, face an away day at Oldham.
Darren Ferguson’s Peterborough will battle it out with MK Dons and Phil Parkinson’s Bradford City travel to the Midlands to test Walsall.
If you can’t make it to Glanford Park at the weekend, keep track of the action by tuning into the club’s official social media channels or keep an eye on events on the website, with live updates available from kick-off.

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