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Preview: Preston North End vs. Hull City - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Saturday's Championship clash between Preston North End and Hull City, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

League One champions Hull City return to the second tier after a one-year absence on Saturday, as they visit Preston North End at Deepdale.

While the Tigers topped the lower division to seal their Championship return, Preston finished with a flourish to post a respectable 13th-place finish, and hope to bring that momentum into the new campaign.

Match preview

Hull City celebrate promotion to the Championship on April 24, 2021© Reuters

Crowned kings of League One back in May, now the hard work begins for Hull City, as they look to re-establish themselves as a credible force at Championship level.

An abysmal second half of the 2019-20 season saw City drop like a stone from a mid-table position into the relegation zone and suffer the heartbreak of slipping down a division. However, Grant McCann's side regrouped impressively and - little over a year later - the East Yorkshire club face Lancashire counterparts Preston on the opening day of the new season.

By way of preparation, Hull have taken part in three pre-season friendlies; first hosting Mansfield Town (a 2-1 defeat) before beating Mansfield and losing their final warm-up fixture against Sunderland last week.

So far, McCann has been able to bring in several new faces on free transfers - including George Moncur of Luton and Portsmouth's Andy Cannon - while Jordy de Wijs has now left to join QPR on a permanent deal.

Whether his squad are ready for the rigours of a long and arduous Championship campaign remains to be seen, but on Saturday they will certainly want to improve on the 2-1 defeat they suffered last time they visited Preston in the league - before they go on to host three successive home games.

Frankie McAvoy in charge of Preston North End in April 2021© Reuters

By contrast with this weekend's opponents, Preston enjoyed a loaded pre-season friendly schedule, as Frankie McAvoy's squad featured in a total of seven warm-ups in preparation for the coming season.

Though they claimed the scalp of an ailing Celtic side in mid-July, the Lilywhites have since been unable to build on that morale boost - losing to local rivals Bolton, Manchester City and Wigan, and drawing 1-1 with Accrington.

Since McAvoy rose from obscurity to be appointed head coach on a permanent basis - winning five of his eight matches in interim charge following countryman Alex Neill's sacking in March - things have looked a little rosier for the Lancastrian outfit. However, they will be aware that momentum can easily be squandered, having endured the ups and downs of Championship life for several years now, so their new signings - which include promising full-back Matthew Olosunde - will have to settle quickly.

After Hull make the trip across the Pennines this weekend, Preston will be aware of three straight away games coming up - two in the league and one in the Carabao Cup, versus Mansfield Town - so a bright start is essential against a promoted side.

Preston North End form (all competitions):
  • W
  • L
  • D
  • L
  • L
  • D

Hull City form (all competitions):
  • L
  • W
  • L

Team News

Rotherham United's Matthew Olosunde in action with Sheffield Wednesday's Liam Shaw in the Championship on March 3, 2021© Reuters

American right-back Matthew Olosunde's recovery from an Achilles problem is expected to rule him out of the season opener, though Preston manager Frankie McAvoy has suggested he could be involved in the coming week.

Having signed at the end of June, the former Rotherham man - a Manchester United academy graduate - only managed a solitary half of football throughout North End's pre-season schedule, after he picked up the injury in training. Either Joe Rafferty or Sepp Van den Berg is expected to fill his prospective wing-back slot on Saturday.

Another new boy, Izzy Brown, has suffered a serious injury setback, which will now see the midfielder sidelined for several months, but McAvoy has declared Daniel Johnson fit and ready to take on Hull.

George Honeyman was a fundamental part of the visitors' success last season but is expected to be absent at Deepdale, as he requires ankle surgery on an injury sustained several months ago during the Tigers' promotion push.

Hull have seen most of their pre-season go by without Mallik Wilks available too, but the talented forward is set to feature against Preston, having scored 19 goals and provided eight assists last term.

Callum Elder has also been plagued by injury in recent weeks, but Grant McCann hopes he can at least figure on the bench. However, both Randell Williams and Thomas Mayer are continuing to recover from COVID-19 infection and miss out.

Preston North End possible starting lineup:
Rudd; Storey, Lindsay, Hughes; Rafferty, Whiteman, Ledson, Browne, Cunningham; Evans, Maguire

Hull City possible starting lineup:
Ingram; Coyle, Emmanuel, Greaves, Jones; Cannon, Docherty, Smallwood; Lewis-Potter, Magennis, Wilks

SM words green background

We say: Preston North End 0-1 Hull City

Hull's rebirth as a Championship club can be completed with an away win on the opening day, as - despite some absences - they have enough talent to test Preston's rearguard.

The home side only managed a mediocre goal-per-game ratio last season - scoring less than several sides below them in the table - and could draw a blank again, only to see their visitors sting them on the break.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at are predicting a double chance bet on a home win or an away win in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Home/Away:data

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General view of Hull City's KCOM Stadium taken May 2017
Read Next:
Hull City: Transfer ins and outs - Summer 2021
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