It’s an ‘old Lancashire’ derby that only started in the 1980’s, but hasn’t been played since 2005, when rivalries are renewed between the Lilywhites and Gary Caldwell’s Wigan Athletic on Friday night, in front of the Sky TV cameras.
The two sides will both be looking to move into a mid-table position with a win, with North End looking to build upon their last home game and performance, when they put Cardiff City to the sword.
The Latics ended a run of unlucky defeats by taking a creditable point from early high-flyers Fulham at the DW Stadium and whilst North End were making the long midweek trip to Bournemouth, Friday’s opponents had no game, so will be well-rested ahead of the short trip up the M6 to PR1.
Manager Simon Grayson could recall Jermaine Beckford to the squad, after the frontman missed the last four games with a hamstring injury. Tommy Spurr and Liam Grimshaw, who have both had a severe bout of flu, have returned to training and will face late fitness tests.
The biggest selection dilemma for the gaffer will be which of those who played 120 minutes on Tuesday night, and did so well, will make the squad, with the cup tied Alex Baptiste available again, along with Aiden McGeady, Anders Lindegaard and Paul Gallagher, who all remained in Preston whilst the team headed to the south coast for the EFL Cup tie.
Marnick Vermijl, whose injury at Brentford signalled the late collapse, is still out with the hamstring strain suffered at Griffin Park and will join long term knee injury victims Calum Woods and Stevie May on the sidelines.
Gary Caldwell is likely to be without Alex Gilbey, who was stretchered off in the draw with Fulham last weekend. He was replaced by deadline day signing Nathan Byrne who could retain his place in the starting XI.
The Latics boss has no other new injuries to contend with as his side visit Deepdale.
The Match Official
West Midlands referee Oliver Langford takes charge of Friday’s night’s game. He twice took charge of the Lilywhites last season; the goalless draw against Derby County when Anders Lindegaard made his debut and the April trip to Middlesbrough.
His previous game in change of North End before last season was the clash with Swindon at the County Ground in November 2014.
He has been on the league list since 2008/09 and this will be his sixth time in charge of a North End game, his first being against Barnsley in November 2010 at Deepdale – his only other visit to PR1, the other five all being away games.
Tickets are on sale 24/7 at www.mypne.com until three hours before kick-off, with tickets available to collect from the Sir Tom Finney Stand collections window.
The ticket office is also open from 9am until kick-off and beyond on Friday, the day of the game. Normal matchday prices for the 2016/17 season apply.
Fans are reminded to bring their full season ticket books with them as vouchers will be chosen at random and not be used consecutively.
Fans are reminded that the phone lines are open during open hours, but close on matchday 90 minutes before kick-off, the hotline being 0344 856 1966. Both the Invincibles ticket office and the Sir Tom Finney ticket office can be used from two hours before kick-off, with sales of all home stands available from both offices.
If you can’t get to Deepdale, Jonathan Breeze and a former PNE player will be live on PNE Player from 7.15pm bringing you live and uninterrupted match commentary.
You can also follow the game on our official Twitter feed @pnefc, and online at facebook.com/officialPNEFC. Whilst from 12 noon on Saturday highlights of the game will be available, both in extended version on PNE Player HD and a shortened 90 second version on our YouTube site youtube.com/pnefcofficial.
To watch what the manager has to say about the game, click below
To hear from Alex Baptiste when he spoke to PNE PlayerHD to preview the clash click on the video below