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Preview: Preston North End vs. Sheffield Wednesday - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Saturday's Championship fixture between Preston North End and Sheffield Wednesday, including predictions, team news and lineups.

Tony Pulis's first game in charge of new club Sheffield Wednesday will take place away to Preston North End, as he looks to turn things around for the Owls.

The hosts currently sit in 14th place in the table having lost away to Rotherham United 2-1 last time out, while the visitors are in 23rd after their 0-0 draw with Millwall.


Match preview

Preston North End manager Alex Neil pictured in September 2020© Reuters

Preston went into their fixture with Rotherham buoyed by their handsome win at leaders Reading, and with the best away record in the Championship with 13 points from 15 - as well as the worst home record - with all of their points coming on the road.

Unfortunately for Alex Neil and his team, Matt Crooks's late winner fired Rotherham to victory to end their unbeaten away record after a dramatic finale.

As they will know, they cannot rely on such sporadic form and will need to start picking up points at home. Easier said than done though, as they have not kept a clean sheet at Deepdale for six games, and have kept only one clean sheet in their last 20 home games.

That said, the Lilywhites will feel they have a chance of shutting out Wednesday, who are the second-lowest scorers in the league, with only six goals so far this campaign.

Preston underwent a stern test during the break, as they hosted Burnley in a training ground friendly that finished 2-2, with goalkeeper Connor Ripley opening the scoring with a wind-assisted clearance.

Boro boss Tony Pulis cuts a frustrated figure on May 5, 2019© Reuters

Wednesday went into the international break with one manager, and will come out of it with another after Garry Monk was dismissed just days after their goalless draw with Millwall.

The Owls have managed just seven Championship wins under Monk since the start of 2020, and will hope that seasoned pro Tony Pulis can offer a better return.

Pulis faces a tough test as Wednesday come into this fixture with only one win in their last six, but he will take heart from Preston's poor home form and will look to extend the Lilywhites' fruitless home record.

This week has seen the Owls join Barnsley in the race to sign Mario Balotelli, which would be some signal of intent from Pulis, but it is understood that Balotelli's hunger to play in the Championship has cooled in recent days.

Mario or no Mario, Pulis will need to find a way to get his side scoring again, with Derby County the only side to have scored fewer this campaign.

Preston North End Championship form: WWLLWL

Sheffield Wednesday Championship form: LLLLWD


Team News

Preston's Alan Browne and Swansea's Jake Bidwell battle for the ball on September 12, 2020© Reuters

Alan Browne will be unavailable this weekend due to testing positive for COVID-19 while away with the Republic of Ireland.

Browne adds to the number of injuries that the Lilywhites were nursing before the break and so Alex Neil will hope to get some bodies back into the fold.

Patrick Bauer, Andrew Hughes, Ben Pearson, and Ben Davies all missed the last match while Darnell Fisher went off injured. It remains to be seen who will be declared fit ahead of Wednesday's visit.

From Wednesday's perspective, Pulis has been forced to call up a number of youngsters to train with their injury-torn first team.

Pulis refused to name names when asked about the injuries in his squad this week, though there was speculation that defenders Dominic Iorfa, Joost van Aken and striker Jack Marriott will remain unavailable.

Long-term absentees include Chey Dunkley (leg) and Aden Flint (hamstring), with no clear return dates.

Preston North End possible starting lineup:
Rudd; Fisher, Huntington, Storey, Rafferty; Johnson, Ledson; Sinclair, Harrop, Potts; Jakobsen

Sheffield Wednesday possible starting lineup:
Wildsmith; Palmer, Iorfa, Borner; Odubajo, Bannan, Pelupessy, Reach; Brown; Windass, Kachunga


SM words green background

We say: Preston North End 1-1 Sheffield Wednesday

We expect Pulis's men to arrive at Deepdale determined to get a result, and with Preston's lacklustre home form in mind, they could well get their wish. The match could end up being a scrappy affair with both sides struggling with injuries, meaning both teams might have to settle for a point apiece.


Top betting tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com 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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Preston boss Alex Neil on February 8, 2020
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CountryGold medalSilver MedalBronze MedalT
ChinaChina22131247
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Today's Olympic highlights header

Sunday's key events


GOLF
· The men's golf reaches its conclusion, with plenty of players still in medal contention. Home favourite Hideki Matsuyama is one shot off Xander Schauffele's lead, while Great Britain's Paul Casey is another shot further back and Tommy Fleetwood is also in the mix (11.30pm-8am)

CYCLING - BMX
· Great Britain have already made history in the BMX events in Tokyo, something Charlotte Worthington and Declan Brooks will be looking to add to in the women's (2.10am) and men's (3.10am) freestyle finals

SWIMMING
· The final day of swimming action begins with the men's 50m freestyle final. Ben Proud could add to a medal-laden Games in the pool for Team GB so far, although he is up against USA's Caeleb Dressel, who is going for his fourth gold in Tokyo (2.30am)
· From sprint to endurance, Great Britain's second medal hope of the day comes through Daniel Jervis in the men's 1500m freestyle final (2.44am)
· Team GB will again be among the heavy favourites for gold in the last swimming event of the Games - the men's 4x100m medley relay final - having won the mixed event in a world record time on Saturday (3.36am)

BOXING
· Already guaranteed at least a bronze, Pat McCormack takes part in the men's welterweight semi-final against Ireland's Aidan Walsh with a spot in the gold medal final at stake (4.03am)
· Ben Whittaker is also in the semi-finals of the men's light heavyweight and will be looking to continue Team GB's success in the ring (4.51am)

TENNIS
· There will be a surprise on the top of the men's tennis podium after Novak Djokovic missed out on a medal altogether. Alexander Zverev takes on Karen Khachanov in the second match on Centre Court at the Ariake Tennis Park (7am-2pm)

SAILING
· Alison Young will be going for gold in the women's laser radial medal race (7.33am)

ARTISTIC GYMNASTICS
· Team GB's Max Whitlock will look to defend his 2016 Olympic title in the men's pommel horse final (10.41am)

ATHLETICS
· The men's high jump final includes GB's Tom Gale, although his chances of a medal look bleak (11.10am)
· So often the blue-riband event of the Olympics, the men's 100m final takes place as the world's fastest bid to be crowned Usain Bolt's successor. Three Brits have made it into the semi-finals (11.15am-11.32am), and the final looks wide open after an underwhelming display by favourite Trayvon Bromell on Saturday (1.50pm)

HOCKEY
· Great Britain face India in the men's quarter-final (1pm)

> Today's schedule in full
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