Preston North End will, on Saturday, look to achieve something they have never done before at first team level and win twice at St Andrews, when they face Mark Robins’ Coventry City at their temporary home.
The Sky Blues, who have virtually ensured their Championship survival with three excellent straight wins against Rotherham United, Barnsley and then on Wednesday night at Stoke City, will return to the Ricoh Arena in 2021/22 and have just two games left in the second city.
North End did the same on Tuesday night, all but mathematically ensuring their Championship status with a 3-0 home win over relegation threatened Derby County and they will be looking to continue to build on the foundations that Frankie McAvoy has created in his role as interim head coach.
The final Saturday 3pm away game of the season (with Nottingham Forest being a 12.30pm kick-off on the final day) will be one the Lilywhites hope to add to their positive away form, with two clean sheets against Swansea City and Stoke City since the change of manager.
Competition: EFL Sky Bet Championship (44/46)
Date: Saturday 24th April, kick-off 3pm
Venue: St Andrews, Birmingham
Kit: 2020/21 green third kit – click here to buy it now!
Head To Head: PNE wins – 17; Draws – 14; Coventry City - 10
There are no new concerns for Frankie McAvoy ahead of the team’s second trip to St Andrews this season, although Daniel Johnson could still miss out after suffering a set back with his calf.
In Wednesday’s win at Stoke, Mark Robins made two changes from the previous weekend’s win, with Matty Godden and Callum O’Hare starting in place of former PNE loanee Matty James and Max Biamou.
That meant City retained the same back six from the win against Barnsley with Ben Wilson in goal, Julien Dacosta and Sam McCallum at wing back and Leo Ostigard, Kyle McFadzean and Dom Hyam at centre back.
Captain Liam Kelly and Gus Hamer joined O’Hare in midfield with Godden and Tyler Walker leading the line in the 3-2 success.
For the first time in two and a half years, experienced referee Andy Woolmer will take charge of a Lilywhites game on Saturday.
His last game was a very memorable one, as it took place at Ipswich Town in November 2018, when Paul Gallagher scored and went in goal in the same game, after Chris Maxwell’s red card!
That was his first North End game since the final day of 2016, when we drew 1-1 with Sheffield Wednesday at Deepdale, so he has not been a regular official for the North End – with two in five years.
However, that Owls game was one of four games that Woolmer took charge of a PNE game in the first half of the 2016/17 season; as well as overseeing the points being shared with Wednesday, the Northamptonshire-based official also took charge of our EFL Cup win over Hartlepool United early in the campaign, late September's 2-2 draw at Birmingham City and November’s 3-1 win at Rotherham United that year.
The season prior to that he took charge of PNE twice, the clash again between North End and Sheffield Wednesday, at Hillsborough in October 2015, and then in March of 2016, the 1-1 draw at home to Queens Park Rangers.
His first game in charge of the Lilywhites was way back in January 2005, when he was the referee for our 2-1 victory over Crewe Alexandra and he was also referee on Good Friday 2015 for a win over Rochdale, preceded by the 2013 home win over Stevenage, when Lee Holmes and Will Hayhurst were on target for then manager Simon Grayson’s men.
His last trip to St Andrews was to take charge of Birmingham in March, whilst he has refereed the Sky Blues three times, two away defeats and a goalless draw at home to Luton Town in December
So far this season he has officiated 30 games, issuing 88 cautions and just one red card. This Saturday he will be assisted by Graham Kane and Michael George, whilst experienced Championship referee David Webb will act as the fourth official.
North End fans everywhere can watch Saturday’s game exclusively live on iFollow PNE, with purchases of a £10 audio match pass available now.
Jonathan Breeze and a co-commentator are on commentary duties, with replays, graphics and coverage from St Andrews from approximately 2.30pm on Saturday afternoon.
Frankie McAvoy: “I Can’t Ask For Any More” - Preston North End interim head coach Frankie McAvoy has been delighted with what he has got from the players since he was handed the role back in March. Click here for the full interview.
A Match To Remember: Back on almost the same week in 2007, North End picked up a big win on the road on a sunny afternoon at the Ricoh Arena against Iain Dowie's Coventry City. Click here for the details.
Ben Whiteman Looking To Add To First Goal: Preston North End midfielder Ben Whiteman is hoping that having got his first goal for the club in Tuesday’s win over Derby County, he can add more before the end of the season. Click here for Ben’s thoughts.