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

Sports Mole previews Saturday's Championship game between Preston North End and Stoke City, including team news and predicted lineups.

Preston North End and Stoke City square off at Deepdale on Saturday afternoon with each having failed to win their opening two fixtures in the Championship.

The home side's solitary point came away at Norwich City last weekend, while the Potters only have a goalless draw at Millwall to show for their efforts.


Match preview

Preston manager Alex Neil on February 1, 2020© Reuters

Preston have been provided with one of the toughest starts to the season, with games against Swansea City and Norwich City being followed by a double-header against Stoke and Brentford.

However, Alex Neil will not look to use that as an excuse for any disappointing results, particularly when his side were only denied maximum points against the Canaries during the latter stages.

With the team now out of the EFL Cup courtesy of defeat to Brighton & Hove Albion, Neil will be keen to kick on in the second tier, aware that a prolonged slow start will set them back in their bid to challenge for the playoffs.

Saturday's meeting with Stoke will not be regarded as a must-win by any means, but the North-West outfit will be conscious that they can ill-afford to give up too much ground on the teams above them during a packed opening schedule.

The same applies to a Potters side who have failed to score in their opening two fixtures against Millwall and Bristol City, form which has left them level on points with their upcoming opponents.

Progressing through to the fourth round of the EFL Cup, the latest win coming over Gillingham on Wednesday, has ensured that any scrutiny has been kept to a minimum.

Nevertheless, Michael O'Neill will be the first to acknowledge that his players must improve in the final third having failed to score more than once in any of their five matches this season.

That has inevitably led to calls for Scotland international Steven Fletcher to be provided with his first start in a Stoke shirt after five successive outings from the substitutes' bench.

Preston North End Championship form: LD
Preston North End form (all competitions): WLWDL

Stoke City Championship form: DL
Stoke City form (all competitions): DDWLW


Team News

Stoke City's Tyrese Campbell celebrates scoring against Gillingham on September 23, 2020© Reuters

Tyrese Campbell is in line to return to the Stoke starting lineup in the Championship after his performance against Gillingham in midweek.

O'Neill may also consider handing opportunities to Josh Tymon and James McClean in wide positions.

Preston boss Neil will almost certainly revert back to the bulk of the team which began the 2-2 draw with Norwich last weekend.

However, Jayden Stockley may retain his spot from Wednesday night after his recent absence due to following coronavirus regulations.

Alan Browne is also likely to be available after missing the Brighton fixture with a calf issue.

Preston North End possible starting lineup:
Rudd; Fisher, Bauer, Davies, Rafferty; Ledson, Pearson; Sinclair, Browne, Barkhuizen; Stockley

Stoke City possible starting lineup:
Davies; Chester, Batth, Martins Indi; Smith, Mikel, Clucas, Tymon; Powell; Campbell, Vokes


SM words green background

We say: Preston North End 1-1 Stoke City

Although both teams will be eager to get maximum points on the board, there is little which suggests that there will be many goals in this game. Both teams will make the running at various points in the contest, but that could only result in a share of the spoils come the full-time whistle.


Top betting tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting over 1.5 goals 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.Over 1.5:data

ID:415585:cQx

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

Preston North End
Draw
Stoke City
Preston North End
0.0%
Draw
0.0%
Stoke City
0.0%
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Stoke City manager Michael O'Neill pictured on July 4, 2020
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Todays Game Header Right
Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Reading87101531222
2Bournemouth8440116516
3Swansea CitySwansea8431105515
4Millwall8431105515
5Bristol City8422117414
6Norwich CityNorwich842297214
7Middlesbrough734084413
8Luton TownLuton841377013
9Watford733174312
10Stoke CityStoke833299012
11Brentford83231311211
12Blackburn RoversBlackburn83141811710
13Preston North EndPreston83141010010
14Cardiff CityCardiff824277010
15Birmingham CityBirmingham824255010
16Huddersfield TownHuddersfield8314710-310
17Rotherham UnitedRotherham823389-19
18Barnsley8143910-17
19Queens Park RangersQPR8143610-47
20Nottingham ForestNott'm Forest8134510-56
21Derby CountyDerby8125412-85
22Coventry CityCoventry8125616-105
23Wycombe WanderersWycombe8017316-131
24Sheffield WednesdaySheff Weds822459-4-4

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