PNE Preview vs Blackburn (H)

Another international break has finished and North End’s injury luck has seemingly gotten even worse, they face fellow Lancashire side Blackburn at Deepdale on Saturday.

Despite their position in the table leaving them just two points ahead of the bottom three, PNE are now seven games unbeaten in the Championship, after a 1-0 win last time out against Bristol City.

As for Blackburn, they have not lost in their last three games, with their most recent result being a 1-1 draw at home to Rotherham.

Tony Mowbray’s side have failed to score more than one goal in their last four Championship games, they will be looking to get more in front of what will be a packed out away end.

It’s a game which could see the away side climb into the top six, whilst the Lilywhites will be hoping not to begin the festive fixtures in a relegation place.

The two teams have only met four times in league games in the last 17 years, with North End managing to get the better of Blackburn on two occasions, the last time Rovers were victorious was another November fixture at Deepdale, the away side winning 2-1 in 2015.

Team News:

Josh Harrop and Billy Bodin are both still struggling with long term ACL injuries which may keep both out of action until next season.

Callum Woods has yet to return to a match day squad since his injury at the start of the season which was coupled with another on his return to training.

During the international break, last season’s top scorer Sean Maguire, who missed so much of the last campaign as well as all of this one until the Wigan game in October, came of injured just minutes after coming on for the Republic Of Ireland.

He appeared to be struggling with his hamstring once again, which is a huge issue for him and North End, there has not been a timescale on the injury released yet.

Alan Browne returned to PNE earlier than expected along with Maguire, he picked up a shoulder injury, it is yet to be seen whether he will make the game on Saturday.

The final blow for Preston in this international break was the injury to Daniel Johnson.

He was with PNE over the break and rumours spiralled on social media that he picked up an injury that could keep him out until March at the earliest.

North End confirmed that the midfielder had picked up an injury on Twitter, meaning there is now another nervous wait to find out the extent of this injury.

Lukas Nmecha is one player who seems unscathed from his international duties, he managed to get a goal and an assist in a debut substitute appearance for England U20’s.

Predicted XI:

Maxwell

Clarke Huntington Davies Hughes

Pearson Gallagher

Barkhuizen Browne Robinson

Nmecha

Prediction:

PNE 2-1 Blackburn

This certainly seems like an important game for PNE in order to avoid slipping into the bottom three upon entering a crucial part of the season.

Although the injury problems are not helping, North End have been on a good run recently, so with the hope that certain casualties such as the one to Alan Browne are not so serious, I am going to predict a home win.

Picture Credit: Preston North End

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