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Preston North End – The Scout Report

Two of the Championship’s in-form sides meet at Deepdale this weekend as Rafa Benitez’s Newcastle take on a Preston side buoyed by recent victories over Huddersfield Town and Norwich City.

Preston North End – A Factfile

Founded: 1880
Nickname: The Lilywhites
Stadium: Deepdale (23,404 capacity)
Manager: Simon Grayson
2015-16: Championship, 11th
Major Honours: First Division (1888-89, 1889-90), FA Cup (1889, 1938)

Notable Signings

Anders Lindegaard –
GK – Danish goalkeeper, renowned for his back-up role at Manchester United earlier in his career, Lindegaard signed for Preston in the summer following the expiry of his contract at West Bromwich Albion. His Premier League experience will be vital to a side that has been out of the top flight for a number of decades.

Aiden McGeady – RW – Irish international McGeady is a well-travelled professional, however since his Everton career failed to take off, he has been loaned out to a couple of Championship clubs, Preston being one of those. Still only 30 years old, he offers an outlet on either wing, especially in this division, however his fitness is something that has been an issue throughout his career, and the hectic Championship schedule could take its toll on McGeady’s performances.

Simon Makienok – ST – Another loan signing, this time from Palermo in Serie A, is that of Danish forward Makienok. Having made just ten appearances for the Lilywhites to date, he has scored on four occasions, proving he is adapting to the rigours of Championship football quite well this season. Comparatively, the 6ft 7in striker was on loan at Charlton Athletic last season and endured a torrid time as the London club were relegated to League One. Makienok’s physicality and sheer size is an intimidating presence for any centre back and will pose a tough test should he feature against United.
Notable Departures

Joe Garner –
ST – One of the heroes of Preston’s 2014-15 promotion campaign, Garner departed Deepdale for the heights of the SPL and Rangers FC where he joins Mark Warburton’s reinvigorated setup. Most fondly remembered for his excellent strike against Rotherham United in their League One Play-Off Semi Final. (see it here A fee of £1.8m was agreed between the two clubs for the sale of Garner however replacing his goals and influence will be something that boss Grayson is tasked with over the course of the season.

Josh Brownhill – CM – One of Preston’s brightest youth prospects in a number of years rejected the offer of a new contract and opted to sign for Bristol City following the expiry of his previous deal. The 20-year old is an adept central midfield player likened to Will Hughes of Derby County, and billed as having unlimited potential by those high up in the Preston North End hierarchy. The former Manchester United schoolboy played over 50 times for Preston before departing for what he perceives to be a step forward in his career.

Key Players

Jordan Hugill –
ST – Preston’s current top scorer with five strikes to date in this campaign, Hugill is an unlikely hero considering he struggled on loan at Tranmere Rovers in League 2 as recently as 2015. However, Hugill has got off to a flying start this season, netting four league goals and one in the League Cup, cementing his place as a regular starter in this squad. Standing at six feet tall, Hugill is not quite as imposing as strike partner Makienok but that does not prevent him from finding space in the box and pouncing to score, which United’s defence will need to keep an eye on.

Tom Clarke – CB – Captain of Preston and leading by example in the heart of defence, Clarke’s longevity at the Lancashire club is to be admired. Since 2013, Clarke has missed hardly any league fixtures which is a credit to the great condition he keeps himself in, which translates onto the pitch in the form of leading the side to a promotion from League One, and an impressive 11th placed finish in the Championship last term. Clarke has also scored on two occasions this season, indicating he isn’t afraid to commit himself to getting forward for set pieces, which Newcastle will surely have picked up on in their pre-match preparations.

Greg Cunningham – LB – One of the few players to have played in almost every Preston game this season, Irish full-back Cunningham, a former Manchester City player, has been exceedingly impressive. Capped four times for the national side, the last of which coming in 2013, Cunningham shows he is capable of displaying international quality and pedigree on the field. A tough-tackler with pace, the left-back is a formidable opponent, proven by his disciplinary record this season, with six yellow cards in just 16 appearances.

Last Six Results

Birmingham City 2-2 Preston North End – 27/9/16

Preston North End 2-0 Aston Villa – 1/10/16
Brighton & Hove Albion 2-2 Preston North End – 15/10/16
Preston North End 3-1 Huddersfield Town – 19/10/16
Norwich City 0-1 Preston North End – 22/10/16
Newcastle United 6-0 Preston North End – 25/10/16 – EFL Cup

Manager – Simon Grayson

Yorkshireman Grayson has experienced life in the Championship as a manager but has played in the Premier League for Leicester City, Blackburn Rovers and Aston Villa. Having stewarded Preston’s promotion back to the Championship in 2015, Grayson is looking to build on the progress he has made at the club so far.
The 46-year old’s time as Leeds United and Huddersfield Town boss are deemed as so-so, fairly average stints at the managerial helm, therefore Grayson will be keen to right any wrongs from his past by ensuring his tenure at Deepdale is a success.
Slowly but surely he is making waves in the Championship, having not been beaten since 13th September following a poor start. This is as well as leading Preston to the Fourth Round of the League Cup for the first time in 14 years, however United put a well-documented stop to that progression.

1 Comment on Preston North End – The Scout Report

  1. Colin Mccabe // October 29, 2016 at 11:30 am // Reply

    Good info piece, thanks Hatty

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