It’s the penultimate game of the season at Deepdale and it is one where both teams will be fighting tooth and nail for the three points as we face Wayne Rooney’s Derby County for the third time this campaign.
After two wins at Pride Park, one coming under the management of Philip Cocu, North End will be looking to complete a season treble against the Rams, having not done a league double over them since the 2002/03 season.
Rooney will be eyeing a vital three points for his side, who currently sit four points above the last relegation spot, although Rotherham United still have two games in hand.
For PNE, they know that a win would put them nine points above County with both sides just having three games left to play and in a strong position ahead of their trip to Coventry at the weekend.
Competition: EFL Sky Bet Championship (43/46)
Date: Tuesday 20th April, kick-off 7pm
Kit: 2020/21 home kit – click here to buy it now!
Head To Head: PNE wins – 51; Draws – 23; Derby County - 47
Liam Lindsay is available again after being unable to play against his parent club at the weekend. He will compete for a place in the backline for the Lilywhites.
The only definite absentees at this stage are Declan Rudd, Patrick Bauer and Joe Rafferty, with Daniel Johnson being assessed before the game.
For Wayne Rooney, Manchester United loanee Teden Mengi has returned to his parent club early, with a season-ending hamstring injury, whilst another of the Rams loan signings, midfielder Beni Baningime, could also miss out a hamstring problem.
There is good news for England's all-time leading goalscorer, with Martyn Waghorn set to return, but Lee Gregory (who is out for the season), George Edmundson and Jack Stretton not back fit.
For the third time this season – all at Deepdale - the match official will be Geoff Eltringham, who refereed our 1-0 home win over Bristol City back in December and the goalless draw with Reading in January.
His last PNE game before that was the game where Scott Sinclair scored his first goal for the club, versus the winger’s former employers Swansea City on 1st February 2020.
Experienced County Durham referee Geoff, as well as the Swans draw, last season officiated the 3-1 win over Huddersfield Town back in November 2019, as well as our draw with Nottingham Forest at the end of August.
The last time we saw the north east official here in Preston before that, was for the superb home win over Norwich City back in February 2019, before which he also refereed our final game of 2018, when we took a point from a fine performance against Aston Villa.
Prior to that he was referee when the Lilywhites travelled to Ashton Gate and defeated Lee Johnson’s Bristol City in October 2018 and also North End’s trip to Elland Road back in September – making it four games in the 2018/19 campaign, having also officiated five games for Alex Neil’s side in the 2017/18 season!
In that season, having taken charge our early season game at Derby County, Geoff also took charge of the Boxing Day trip to Barnsley, our January win at Nottingham Forest and March’s victory over Bristol City at Deepdale and finally our goalless draw with Norwich City in mid-April.
He also refereed one North End game in 2016/17, the home clash with our Barnsley, having also done one the previous season, the 1-0 home win over Reading.
The year prior to that he took charge of three PNE games, including the 2-0 home win over Peterborough United in March. Back in the 2013/14 campaign he also took charge of North End twice, both of those at Deepdale - the 1-1 draw with Tranmere Rovers back in November 2013 and then the goalless draw with Sheffield United in March.
The County Durham official is an experienced referee who had taken charge of North End a number of other times in the past including the very first game after the departure of Graham Westley, when John Dreyer took the team against an in-form Bournemouth side and ran out 2-0 winners.
He also looked after a thriller back in 2010, when North End overcame Crystal Palace 4-3 at Deepdale.
Geoff has so far taken charge of 26 games this season, with 77 cautions and five red cards issued, and this will also be his third Rams game of the season, having taken charge of their home defeat to Watford and a home win over Huddersfield Town.
For the game, the referee will be assisted by James Wilson and Jonathan Hunt, whilst the fourth official will be Sam Barrott.
North End fans can watch Tuesday’s game live on iFollow PNE, with purchases of a £10 match pass available now.
Matt Hardman and former PNE goalkeeper Andrew Lonergan will be on commentary duties, with replays, graphics and coverage from Deepdale from approximately 6.30pm on Tuesday evening.
Frankie Says Players Need To Be ‘A Good Environment’: Preston North End’s interim head coach Frankie McAvoy says that the players should play free of pressure when they take on Derby County on Tuesday night. Click here for the full interview.
A Match To Remember: Back in November 2004, Billy Davies' Lilywhites put in a fine performance to put three past the Rams at Deepdale, earning the points, in a season that ended with PNE defeating their opponents on this day in the Play-Off semi-final. Click here for the details of the game we have covered.
Andrew Hughes: “We Are In Good Spirits" - Preston North End defender Andrew Hughes says the squad are looking forward to the visit of Derby County to Deepdale on Tuesday night. Click here for Andrew’s thoughts.
The One And Only Issue 22: Tuesday night’s matchday programme has on loan Leicester City goalkeeper Daniel Iversen as its cover star and main interviewee. Click here for more information.