After an extremely poor defeat at home to Reading on Saturday, the mood surrounding North End is really quite negative as the Lilywhites sit second from bottom in the Championship with just one win and five points from their opening seven games.
In Contrast, Tuesday night’s opponents Leeds have had an excellent start to their 2018/19 campaign with Marcelo Bielsa’s side currently top of the table and unbeaten in the league, with their only defeat this season being in the Carabao Cup against PNE.
Tom Clarke says players must “stand up and be counted” in light of recent results
After failing yet again to get their second win of the season against Reading on the weekend, club captain Tom Clarke demanded that there is a “great team spirit” amongst the players and they now need to “stand up and be counted” when they face Leeds in a midweek fixture that will be shown live on Sky Sports.
At the end of the summer transfer window and even in the last couple of weeks there has been a lot of talk amongst Preston fans about how North End are missing a clinical striker which Alex Neil wanted, especially in the absence of last season’s top scorer Sean Maguire. Although, it has been defensively where The Lilywhites have performed much worse this season, which is unusual when comparing the defensive stability PNE have had in the last few seasons.
Goals conceded after seven Championship matches last season – 2
Goals conceded after seven Championship matches this season – 12
Goals scored after seven Championship matches last season – 6
Goals conceded after seven Championship matches this season – 7
There is still a long, long way to go in this campaign but North End’s struggles are clear to see, they were in fifth position at this point last season and only ever reached as low as 14th all season, so getting out of the bottom three sooner rather than later is of much importance especially with their next four Championship fixtures providing tough tests:
Sheffield United (A)
West Brom (H)
Aston Villa (A)
There is familiar frustration for North End when it comes to players that are once more unavailable for the game against Leeds.
Once more, the suspended midfielders Ben Pearson and Ryan Ledson will be out of action, whilst Alan Browne, who may have played that kind of role against Reading but missed the game through an injury he picked up when away with the Republic Of Ireland, is ‘unlikely’ to be risked for the game against Leeds as stated on the official club website.
Callum Woods is still out after his injury in the first round of the Carabao Cup against Morecambe whilst Billy Bodin and Sean Maguire, who both picked up injuries in pre season are still out, with the latter now out and running meaning he could be back in the next couple of weeks.
As for Leeds, Marcelo Bielsa faces similar injury frustrations for Tuesday night’s game.
Striker Patrick Bamford is set to be out for up to four months, Berradi will be out for an extra couple of weeks with his knee injury, Jamie Shackleton will also miss out as well as two of Leeds’ most influential players Kemar Roofe (calf) and Pablo Hernandez (hamstring) who have scored seven goals between them so far this season.