After four points from two tough Easter weekend games, the Lilywhites host another of the promotion hopefuls when Thomas Frank’s Brentford arrive in PR1 on Saturday.
The Bees have stumbled of late, with just one win in their last six games and look likely to have to settle for the Play-Offs for the second season in a row, with both Norwich and Watford seemingly relentless in their chase for the top two.
The season has been another impressive one for the West London club, with goals galore from their big money replacement for Messrs Benrhama and Watkins, in Ivan Toney – who already has an astonishing 28 to his name this season.
For PNE, they head into the game in a positive frame of mind with two 90-plus minute goals in interim head coach Frankie McAvoy’s first games in charge, earning them a point against the Canaries and the late win at Swansea.
Competition: EFL Sky Bet Championship (41/46)
Date: Saturday 12th April, kick-off 3pm
Kit: 2020/21 home kit – click here to buy it now!
Head To Head: PNE wins – 22; Draws – 13; Brentford - 24
Interim head coach Frankie McAvoy was down to the bare bones for the Easter Monday trip to Swansea City.
Anthony Gordon, Daniel Johnson, Sean Maguire and Joe Rafferty joined Greg Cunningham, Declan Rudd and Patrick Bauer on the sidelines.
However, there is brighter news going into the weekend, with skipper Alan Browne back after his three-match ban was completed with the win in South Wales.
For Thomas Frank, only Henrik Dalsgaard is a doubt, having missed the last few games on the right-side of the Bees backline.
It’s Tony Harrington’s fifth game in charge of PNE this season on Saturday and his fourth trip to Deepdale, the last being the clash with Watford in February.
Despite the quintet of games in 2020/21, he took charge of just one game last season, the home game with Gary Rowett’s Millwall at Deepdale, but in 2018/19 he took charge of three PNE games, the March trip to Reading, the 2-0 cup win at Leeds United back in August 2018 and the home game against West Bromwich Albion that autumn.
Tony has been a familiar face over recent seasons. In 2017/18 he visited Deepdale twice,
the Lilywhites’ opening day 1-0 victory over Sheffield Wednesday in Alex Neil’s first competitive game in charge of the club, and our Bank Holiday Monday clash with Derby County.
The previous season he also took charge of another two North End games, the 1-1 draw away at Nottingham Forest and the thrilling 4-2 win over Brentford at Deepdale – so he has officiated this game before!
The match official, who is now in his tenth year on the EFL list, has also been to PR1 on a number of previous occasions in the past, including the 2014/15 penalty win against Oldham Athletic in the JPT and the club’s last two home league games against Notts County, including a 2-0 win over the Magpies at Deepdale in February 2014.
This will be the Cleveland referee’s 32 game of the season and so far he had issued 85 cautions and four red cards, including Joe Rafferty in PNE’s clash with Blackburn Rovers and it will be his third Brentford game of the season.
He will be joined by assistants Shaun Hudson and Matthew Jones, whilst the fourth official is experienced Championship referee Darren Bond.
North End fans can watch Saturday’s game live on iFollow PNE, with purchases of a £10 match pass available now.
Jonathan Breeze and former North End defender Michael Jackson are on commentary duties, with replays, graphics and coverage from the Deepdale from 2.30pm on Saturday afternoon.
Frankie McAvoy On The ‘Honour’ To Wear The Badge: Preston North End’s interim head coach Frankie McAvoy says he has stressed to the players what an honour and a privilege it is to wear the club’s colours every day. Click here for the full interview.
A Match To Remember: Just over four years ago, Aiden McGeady's double helped the Lilywhites beat Brentford in fine fashion at Deepdale. Click here for the details.
Alan Browne Expecting To Have To Work For Place: Preston North End captain Alan Browne says he does not have any right to go back into the side as he returns from a three match ban this weekend. Click here for Alan’s thoughts.
The One And Only Issue 21: Saturday’s match programme sees the scorer of the last game at Deepdale, late equaliser Brad Potts, as the main interviewee in the 21st edition of the 2020/21 matchday programme. Click here for more information.
A Foot In Both Camps: Ahead of the weekend’s clash with the promotion-chasing Bees, we caught up with former Brentford and North End player John Mousinho, now playing at Oxford United. Click here to read more.