Last Stevenage line-up (versus Tranmere Rovers, 08/03/14)
: Day, Obeng, Charles, Dembele (Hartley, 86), Ashton, Deacon, Mousinho, Smith, Freeman, Akins, Zoko (Burrow, 90). Subs not used: Arnold, Wedgbury, Parrett, Heslop, Reid.
In The Opposition Dug Out
According to the Stevenage Comet, Boro boss and former PNE manager Graham Westley says the aim of his current club is to finish in the top half of League One this season.
Boro beat Tranmere Rovers today 3-1 and now have ten points from their last four matches in a run of games that has seen the club move off the bottom of the league and up to 20th position.
They are currently six points behind Bradford City who are in 13th place with 41 points.
“We knew that to be a League One club next year we had to win a certain number of games,” Westley said. “To get into the top half, which is our objective, we’ve got to win a lot of games.
“We’re three wins in four now, that’s a good bounce back from the situation we were in but we’re not complacent.
“We know the top sides have nicked results against us. So we’re hoping that we’ve made enough improvement in the last two or three games to match another top side on Tuesday and this time do better than we’ve done previously.
“The boys were strong this afternoon. It was a determined display. We did what we had to do and it was quite convincing on the whole.
“It was reminiscent in some respects to Tuesday and it was good in that regard as it was a real test of character. We missed chances after we scored, could easily have gone in two or three up but it was one.
“We said at half-time ‘let’s see if we’ve learned the lesson, let’s see if we’ve understood how to take these situations onwards and close these games out’ and we did that. We closed the game out by scoring the second and the third and allowed ourselves to make that stupid mistake late on.”
One To Watch
Winger/forward Francois Zoko joined Boro in early October of 2013 and has never looked back.
The former Carlisle United man has started life with a bang at Stevenage, leading the line and scoring goals on a consistent basis. The club extended Zoko’s contract to the end of the season in January – a move which was met with much excitement from the Stevenage fans.
The 30-year old Ivorian striker is best known for a two-year spell at Brunton Park, where he scored 19 times in 88 appearances, including against North End on Boxing Day 2011.
Last season he played 39 games for Notts County, scoring seven goals, but he had his contract terminated by mutual consent at Meadow Lane in August this year and was snapped by by Graham Westley.
From The Archives
North End haven’t faced Stevenage too many times at the Lamex Stadium, but in last season’s clash, current Boro boss Graham Westley was still in charge of the Lilywhites and he enjoyed a successful afternoon in Hertfordshire.
The Sky Sports website’s report of the game went as follows: ‘Graham Westley enjoyed a successful return to Stevenage as Preston were convincing 4-1 winners against his former club.
‘Westley, who masterminded successive Boro promotions, took charge at Deepdale in January and his move was vindicated with an inspired showing at the Lamex Stadium.
‘Stuart Beavon put Preston ahead early on, and although Greg Tansey quickly levelled matters, strikes from Jack King, Jeffrey Monakana and Nicky Wroe secured the points for the Lilywhites.
‘It took less than six minutes for Westley's side to silence the home fans as Beavon made the most of a mix up to fire emphatically past Steve Arnold.
‘Boro responded and squared the contest after 15 minutes following a short-corner routine which allowed Tansey to curl a stunner into the top corner of the net. But Preston restored their lead with 32 minutes on the clock when Monakana ran down the left before picking out King, whose strike ricocheted off skipper Mark Roberts and past Arnold.
‘The visitors made the points safe within the hour as Monakana's angled drive bobbled beyond Arnold before Wroe completed the scoring in the 72nd minute with a delicate curling effort from the edge of the box.’
: Arnold, Gray, Charles, Roberts, Ngala, Tansey (Agyemang, 60), Grant, Dunne, Morais (Freeman, 67), Akins, Haber (Shroot, 78). Subs not used: Day, Hills, Risser, Rogers.
: Simonsen, Keane, Laird, Robertson, Welsh, Wroe, Holmes (Mousinho, 63), Monakana (Buchanan, 81), King (Cummins, 90), Wright, Beavon. Subs not used: Stuckmann, Byrom, Procter, Cummins, Sodje.
: Mr S Attwell
On This Day
Some memorable games have been played on this date down the years. Back in our 1999/2000 promotion season, the Lilywhites were again forced to make a long away trip on this date, but Brett Angell’s goal gave them a vital 1-0 win at AFC Bournemouth.
Five years earlier, on March 11th 1995 a certain David Beckham was scoring for PNE in our 3-2 home win over Fulham, as well as his goal, Paul Raynor and Mike Conroy were on the scoresheet to help North End defeat the Cottagers.
In 1989 another positive away win had Tony’s Ellis and Philliskirk among the scorers as North End won 3-0 at Field Mill against Mansfield Town, whilst back in 1950, yet another away trip resulted in a 1-0 win for PNE at Hillsborough, Tom Finney the only goalscorer.
The Match Official
One of the most experienced and well-respected referees takes charge of Tuesday night’s game at the Lamex, Essex official Andy D’Urso.
This will be his 27th game of the season, his last being on Saturdy 1st March at Hillsborough as Sheffield Wednesday defeated Middlesbrough 1-0; and in those games he has issued 75 cautions and eight red cards.
This will be his tenth game taking charge of the Lilywhites in his 16th season on the Football League lists. His first was right back in March 1998 when we drew 2-2 at Bristol Rovers.
His last was in April 2012 when Graham Westley was in charge and North End beat Simon Grayson’s Huddersfield Town 1-0 thanks to Chris Robertson’s goal! Earlier that same season, when Phil Brown was still in charge he was the referee as North End thrashed Brentford 3-1 at Griffin Park.
This is his third trip to the Lamex Stadium, the last being a 2-2 draw with Accrington Stanley in February 2011. He has also been in charge of a memorable game for Simon Grayson – Blackpool’s Play-Off Final win over Yeovil Town in May 2007.
Directions The Lamex Stadium
Head south down the M6 and join the M1. Continue south on the M1 until taking the exit leading to Harlington Road/A5120 in Toddington.
Get on the A1 and continue through the B655 and A602 taking you into Stevenage.
Continue on the A1 before taking junction seven. Take the second exits of the next two roundabouts, and free parking is available for the first 500 spaces at Fairlands Valley car park. The ground will be on your right.
The Lamex Stadium Postcode SG2 8RH Ticket And Travel Details
Preston North End have been given an initial allocation of 500 tickets (more available if needed) for Tuesday evening’s trip to Hertfordshire.
Tickets cost £22 for adults, £19 for full-time students and seniors (over 65). It costs £12 for U16s and £8 for U7s. Wheelchair disabled tickets are £17 with the carer free. Relevant age band applies for ambulant disabled whilst their carer can access the game for free
Coaches will depart from Leyland and Deepdale at 2pm on the day of the game. Tickets cost £25 for adults and £23 for concessions.
Can’t Get To The Game?
If you can’t get to the Lamex Stadium, then don’t worry, we’ll have full coverage of the game live on PNE Player.
Jonathan Breeze will be providing the full and uninterrupted match commentary from 7.15pm, and he will be joined by a co-commentator in the press box to provide expert summary.
We will also have our Twitter updates (@pnefc) and on Facebook (OfficialPNEFC), plus our match report on the whistle and post-match reaction on both PNE Player and PNE.Com. On Wednesday we will also have short highlights on YouTube and an extended version on PNE Player.