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Match Previews

Preston North End v Reading Match Preview

17 August 2017

After the opening day of the season victory over Sheffield Wednesday, the Lilywhites have been on the road for the last couple of weeks.

But they finally return to home comforts on Saturday, as they entertain last season’s beaten Play-Off finalists Reading at Deepdale.

After suffering an opening day defeat, a ‘hangover’ from their Wembley defeat may have been suggested by some commentators, but since then Jaap Stam’s men have been unbeaten, with a convincing Carabao Cup win over Gillingham, a draw with Fulham and then an excellent win over Aston Villa on Tuesday night.

After it took a penalty to give North End their first league defeat of the season at Derby County on Tuesday night, manager Alex Neil and his troops will be looking for an immediate reaction when the doors re-open in PR1 on Saturday afternoon.

The Opposition View

Speaking to the Royals’ official website ahead of his team’s trip to Deepdale this weekend, Reading manager Jaap Stam says his team are determined to return to Berkshire with all three points.

The visitors to PR1 come into the match unbeaten in their last three matches in all competitions, picking up their first Championship victory of the season when they defeated big-spending Aston Villa on Tuesday night.

Speaking to readingfc.co.uk the Dutchman said his side would not be taking anything from their result on the Lilywhites’ patch in March.

“We don't look at that result because of last season, 'we lost there so now we need to win', we know and everybody knows that every game, especially away games, are very, very tough,” he said.

“It'll be very hard to beat them, they know how we play. They did last season and they did it very well.

“They're very aggressive going forward, we need to know that they're probably going to be doing that as well. We need to be prepared for that, but we will work very hard for ourselves to get a result.”

And the former Manchester United centre half says his team will do whatever is needed to come out on top: “We want to do that in a certain way of playing, if we can't do that in the way we want to play then we'll do it in a different way.

“That's what we're looking for, and we are warned by what happened last season,” he added.

PNE Team News

Manager Alex Neil is hoping that skipper Greg Cunningham is fit to lead the side against Reading this weekend, having limped off in the closing seconds of Tuesday’s game at Derby County.

The Irish international left back hyper-extended his knee in the clash at Pride Park, but after that game he was described by the gaffer as a ‘warrior’, who added in his pre-match press conference that he was hopeful he would be fully recovered for the clash with Jaap Stam’s men.

Paul Gallagher completed the game against the Rams, but was taken after the game to hospital following a band on the back of his head during the game. The manager has said that his No.12 suffered an element of concussion and whiplash and would continue to be monitored.

Club captain Tom Clarke continues to work hard behind the scenes, now over four months into his recovery period after snapping his Achilles against former club Huddersfield Town at the end of last season.

A number of players will be pushing for a start against the Royals, with Sean Maguire and Daryl Horgan both having impressed as substitutes against Gary Rowett’s men and Josh Harrop also looking for his first start since his summer move from Manchester United, after a pre-season punctuated by injury.

Ref Watch

Having been the fourth official on Tuesday night at Derby, Andy Madley takes charge of his first Preston North End game of the season this weekend.

He will be a very familiar figure with the whistle to North End fans, having been in charge of some of our more high profile fixtures down the years.

Last season he was the most seen match official by the Lilywhites, taking charge of five games, but it past best remembered as the man who took charge of our Play-Off Final in 2015 when we overcame Swindon Town 4-0 at Wembley.

In 2014/15, he took charge of three North End games, including the win under the arch, having been the man with the whistle in the first league win of the season, the 4-0 triumph at Scunthorpe United back in August of 2014 and then the live game against Fleetwood Town at Highbury in March 2015, which ended 1-1.

And if you think the name rings a bell, it should. Mr Madley was also in charge of our now memorable Cup win over Blackpool in 2013/14 and then also took charge at Port Vale when North End won 2-0 with ten men.

Last season he oversaw our first league win of the campaign at Queens Park Rangers, the defeat in the League Cup at St James’ Park, the draw at Aston Villa in January, the thumping 5-0 home win over Bristol City and the end of season loss at eventual champions Newcastle United; whilst the previous year he also took charge of the 1-0 win over MK Dons at stadium:mk our first win back in the second tier.

Stat Attack

Below are a list of stats about our opponents at Deepdale on Saturday and the particular date of the game we are playing on:

- Although Reading did not make their first league appearance at Deepdale until November 1926, they had previously visited our club for an FA Cup tie in 1894 and it turned out to be something of a mismatch. Whilst we fell well short of equalling our record 26-0 scoreline in the competition set seven years earlier versus Hyde, we still managed to rack up 18 goals without reply against our amateur opponents.

- There were four hat-tricks in the above match, as there were in the 26-0 win against Hyde, and one of them was scored by John Barton, who was the team’s trainer and only played due to an injury crisis!

- We continued our high-scoring trend when league matches commenced 32 years later, with our first seven matches seeing us score 26 times, whilst only conceding six goals, although these games were spread over 51 years. A goalless draw in 1981 was therefore somewhat unexpected on history alone and is the only blank scoreline in 26 games here.

- We have had by far the better of these fixtures to date, with 17 wins, five draws and only four defeats, although two of those defeats have come in the last six games here.

On this date: 19th August

- Saturday marks the 70th birthday of former striker Gerry Ingram and he recorded a classic hat-trick (scoring with his left foot, right foot and head) in our 4-1 home victory over Reading in September 1970. Gerry ended the season as our leading scorer as we won the third division championship under manager Alan Ball.

- Former left-sided midfielder Paul Parry also celebrates his birthday on Saturday (37) whilst Alfie Biggs and Dave Barber made their North End debuts on this date in 1961 in a 4-1 defeat at Luton Town. Alfie scored 24 goals in 49 appearances for North End, but couldn’t settle in the north and returned to Bristol Rovers a year after leaving for Deepdale.

- Our solitary victory on this date was our first home game back at this level, having been promoted in 2000 under David Moyes. We faced Sheffield United, who returned across the Pennines on the wrong end of a 3-0 scoreline. Michael Appleton and Jon Macken scored in the first six minutes, before Macken’s second after the break sealed the points to make it back-to-back wins at the start of that campaign.

Last Five Clashes At Deepdale

PNE 3 (Barkhuizen, 2; Horgan) Reading 0, 11th March 2017
PNE 1 (Garner, pen) Reading 0, 12th December 2015
PNE 1 (Treacy) Reading 1 (Karacan), 2nd October 2010
PNE 1 (Parkin, pen) Reading 2 (Church, Kebe), 29th September 2009
PNE 2 (Ingimarsson (og), Elliott) Reading 1 (Hunt, pen), 18th October 2008

Match Coverage

This is the latest fixture of the new iFollow broadcasts. If you live outside of the UK and Ireland you can sign up to iFollow Premium and watch the game live! Every game that is not shown live on Sky or chosen at the ITN main game on Channel 5, will be available for iFollow Premium subscribers who live outside of the UK and Ireland – you can sign up for a season pass or just one game at a time.

For those in the UK who can’t attend the game will still be able to receive audio commentary of every game as well – and this weekend the audio commentary will be provided from Deepdle by Jonathan Breeze and former North End striker Brett Ormerod.

As well as this, our matchday centre on PNE.Com will be in full flow, as well as all the usual coverage on our social media channels of Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. You can interact with us on any of these channels.

Tuesday night’s test of commentary on our iFollow video will not be in operation this weekend, but will return for a further test against Middlesbrough next weekend ahead of a hopeful permanent launch in September.

Ticket Information

Please see our separate articles on match information and ticket details, but for information, normal matchday prices apply, with reduced prices for families in the Sir Tom Finney Stand Family Zone.

Please remember to also use the Invincibles Pavilion ticket office, which can be used to buy tickets for any part of the ground, not just the Pavilion.

Away end tickets will be available on the day, with no increases for matchday purchases. Visiting Reading supporters can buy from the away ticket office next to the Bill Shankly Kop on Lowthorpe Road, with cash and card payments accepted.

For home fans travelling to the game, there is a reminder that Moor Park School car park is no longer available, however, the club are trialling shuttle buses from certain areas, with further details available on the shuttle bus article on the website.

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Match Reports

Preston North End 1 Reading 0

19 August 2017

It was a game of firsts for the Lilywhites, as they put on another impressive home display to defeat Jaap Stam’s Reading 1-0 at Deepdale.

Jordan Hugill scored his first league goal of the season, after an impressive counter-attack, and with a flurry of chances, it could have been many more, but ultimately a young defence, including 18-year-old debutant Josh Earl, kept the door closed at the end, for back-to-back clean sheets in PR1.

Earl came into the side after the pre-match news that Greg Cunningham would be ruled out for an extended period, due to the injury he suffered at Derby on Tuesday night, and played alongside Ben Davies, who kept his place after making his first Championship start at Pride Park earlier in the week.

And it was the former Academy player that helped create the first chance, flicking on a corner from yet another full home debutant, Josh Harrop, the ball finding Davies in space at the back post, but his right-footed lofted effort was just over Vito Mannone’s bar from 12 yards out.

Ben Pearson, back in the side after his one match suspension, pulled the strings in the centre of midfield throughout and was close to the opener with a goal that would have been all his own making after 11 minutes.

He won the ball in his own half, robbing John Swift in the centre circle, before driving 50 yards into the Royals’ box and forcing a save from Mannone, who dropped low to his left to deny the PNE No.4, with visiting skipper Paul McShane collecting the loose ball and clearing.

But the opener came mid-way through the first half and it was superb play from Alex Neil’s men. On a counter-attack, Chris Maxwell went long for Tom Barkhuizen to chase down to the left hand corner flag, collecting the ball. The forward got back to the left hand sideline, before crossing deep for Sean Maguire – the final of four changes to the side from midweek – and the Irishman headed back across goal for Hugill to control on his chest before volleying into the top right hand corner of the goal from ten yards out.

It was almost two in the final of four added minutes in the first half, with another counter-attack. Once again Pearson won the ball on the edge of his own box from a Reading corner; he found Harrop, who released Daniel Johnson down the right hand side. The No.11 squared the ball for Maguire and he collected, firing left-footed towards the left hand corner of the goal, but former Arsenal and Sunderland man Mannone made a fine diving stop.

The second half began with the Lilywhites on the front foot once again and an Earl cross was only cleared as far as Barkhuizen, who lofted the ball over his own head and volleyed it towards the bottom left corner, only for Mannone to turn the effort behind for a corner.

The home side were slicing their opponents open with ease and ten minutes after the interval Davies played a ball up to Hugill, who in turn flicked it on for Maguire. The former Cork man threaded it in to the path of Barkhuizen, who tried to feed Hugill, but the frontman fired over from 15 yards out.

Counter attacks continued, with Stam’s side, expectedly, seeing a bit more of the ball in the final 20 minutes, but a great break by PNE, saw Maguire first, and then Hugill drive away, the ball drilled in by the No.25 from the right to the back post. Barkhuizen ran onto the ball at the back post, but fired wide from six yards out.

Stephy Mavididi was sent on for his league debut and his first experience of the Championship and it was almost a dream home debut in the second minute of stoppage time, when he raced through the middle onto Johnson’s through ball and bore down on the penalty area, but his curling right foot effort was pushed away by Mannone and it remained 1-0.

PNE line-up: Maxwell, Fisher, Earl, Pearson, Huntington (c), Davies, Barkhuizen (Robinson, 86), Johnson, Hugill, Harrop (Browne, 72), Maguire (Mavididi, 88). Subs not used: Hudson, Vermijl, Spurr, O’Connor.

Reading line-up: Mannone, Gunter, McShane (c), Moore, Swift (Evans, 25), Barrow, Bacuna, Clement (McCleary, 68), Blackett, Popa, Kelly (Mendes, 34). Subs not used: Jaakkola, Beerens, Ilori, Quinn.

Attendance:  11,174 (374 Reading fans)

Referee: Mr A Madley

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