Our preview of the trip to Preston...
Preston North End
Sky Bet League 1
Deepdale, Sir Tom Finney Way, Preston, PR1 6RU
Weather forecast: 14 °c, Cloudy
Referee: Roger East (Wiltshire)
The long away days keep on coming as the team head back up to the North West to face Preston North End this weekend. This fixture has perhaps some added spice to it, given the player and managerial links in recent years, but with Boro now three games unbeaten, including two clean sheets on the road, the visitors will be relishing the challenge on Saturday.
Last time we met:
Preston came out on top in both fixtures last season. In the first of the matches Graham Westley returned to The Lamex for the first time as manager and saw his Preston side put on an impressive performance as they won 4-1. Later on in the season two early goals decided the game at Deepdale, as Holmes and Hayhurst scored within 20 minutes to secure a 2-0 win for the Lilywhites. Both teams were battling towards the bottom of the table and it moved Preston to 7 points above the relegation zone, whilst condemning Stevenage to a fifth straight away defeat.
Boro: Arnold, Gray, Charles, Roberts, Comminges, Tansey, Grant, Mahon (Shroot), Haber (Beleck), Freeman, Hoskins (Akins)
Unused subs: Day, Hills, Iro, Jeffrey.
Stevenage will be without James Dunne for approximately a fortnight after picking up a knock in training last week. Darius Charles is still a doubt after missing the last few games whilst Ben Chorley and Lucas Akins are out.
For Preston, striker Iain Hume should be available to play after nursing a slight Achilles strain whilst on international duty with Canada.
The Preston North End Scout Report
Preston’s win against Oldham on Monday night pushed them into the play-off's, a minimum expectation for the club this season. The team got off to a fairly slow start, drawing their first four games in the league and despite losing in the Capital One Cup, two league wins in a row since have seen the club climb the table and maintain their unbeaten record.
This week’s edition of ‘familiar faces’ is possibly the busiest we’ll have this season! Graham Westley and Dino Maamria were, of course, part of the Preston management team for 13 months until earlier this year. Their move to Deepdale saw four former Stevenage favourites - Scott Laird, John Mousinho, Joel Byrom and Chris Beardsley - all make the trip later that summer. On the other side, David Gray is an ex-Lilywhite and Chris Day joined the club on loan for a short spell whilst he was at QPR.
It’s difficult to look past Kevin Davies - Preston seem to have got themselves a real coup in signing the veteran striker and they’ll hope that he will provide the push they need to gain promotion. He’s had a long, well documented career in the top flight and it was a surprise to many when he made the switch to League 1. A well-known fact about him is that he’s committed more fouls than anyone else in the Premier League, so the Boro defence can expect a battle with the tough, bustling forward.