MX23RW : Friday, February 21 20:08:45| >> :600:960198:960198:
Feb 12, 2020 at 8pm UK at ​Bet365 Stadium
Attendance: 20,418
StokeStoke City
PrestonPreston North End
FT(HT: 0-0)
Browne (58'), Barkhuizen (75')

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

Sports Mole previews the Championship clash between Stoke City and Preston North End, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Relegation-threatened Stoke City host promotion-chasing Preston North End at the bet365 Stadium on Wednesday night as both teams desperately search for points.

Stoke are just five points clear of the drop in 20th, while sixth-placed Preston sit above Bristol City on goal-difference alone and cannot afford to slip up.

Match preview

Preston North End's Tom Barkhuizen celebrates scoring their first goal on January 21, 2020© Reuters

After a woeful start to the season, Stoke have finally played themselves into form, losing just one of their last six league outings - although it was a 4-0 drubbing away to Derby County.

In addition, the Potters have won four of the other five and kept three successive clean sheets before their loss to the Rams.

Stoke endured a run of 10 games without a win at the start of the campaign - losing eight of those - and had to wait until October to pick up three points for the first time, but they have since lifted themselves out of the relegation zone.

A 3-1 defeat against Preston at Deepdale was among those losses, and Michael O'Neill's side will be keen to avoid a second defeat by the same opponents.

Preston are also in fine form and are unbeaten in their last five league games, winning three of those outings.

That run has also featured two rare away wins for Alex Neil's side, as many as they had managed in the rest of their campaign combined.

With Bristol City close behind, Preston will be keen to continue bucking the trend of their away day woes and pick up another victory on the road to ensure they keep their playoff spot for another week.

Brentford are only three points ahead of Neil's men, but the Bees have a vastly superior goal difference and will remain fifth in the Championship table regardless of their result.

Stoke City Championship form: WDWWLW
Stoke City form (all competitions): LDWWLW

Preston North End Championship form: LDWWDW
Preston North End form (all competitions): LDWWDW

Team News

Stoke City boss Michael O'Neill on December 10, 2019© Reuters

Stoke head coach O'Neill is without just two players ahead of the visit of Preston on Wednesday.

Stephen Ward and long-term absentee Ryan Shawcross are the only two players unavailable for selection.

Preston manager Neil has a trio of players sidelined through injury for this one.

Tom Bayliss and Billy Bodin are both expected to be on the treatment table for several weeks and will not be able to feature.

Meanwhile, Louis Moult is a long-term absentee and remains sidelined.

Stoke City possible starting lineup:
Butland; Smith, Batth, Chester, Martins Indi; Allen, Clucas; Ince, Powell, McClean; Campbell

Preston North End possible starting lineup:
Rudd; Fisher, Bauer, Davies, Hughes; Pearson, Browne; Barkhuizen, Johnson, Sinclair; Maguire

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We say: Stoke City 0-1 Preston North End

Both sides come into this one in good form, but Preston appear to be finally overcoming their struggles on the road and could edge Stoke out for an important victory.

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Who will win Wednesday's Championship clash between Stoke City and Preston North End?

Stoke City
Preston North End
Stoke City
Preston North End
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