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09 December 2020 Venue Deepdale Attendance

Kick off 19:00 (UK)

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English Football League - Championship

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Match Previews

Middlesbrough Match Preview

7 December 2020

You could say that North End are due a home win against Middlesbrough! It has been almost 50 years (1972) since our last one!

First Team News

Watch PNE vs Middlesbrough Live On iFollow PNE

7 December 2020

Admittedly, that has only been seven league games, plus a couple of league cup ties and an FA Cup fixture, but let’s put it this way, the last time we won, the win was only worth two points and not three!

Last season’s two clashes with Boro were both against Jonathan Woodgate-selected sides, so this is our first game against Neil Warnock’s side, who have been in fine form so far this season, challenging at the top end of the table.

Neither side have had too many changes in their ranks since that last meeting, at new year, but with injuries, managerial changes and Covid, there is plenty that has changed and it will be an interesting game where both sides will believe they can come out on top.

Match Information
Competition: EFL Sky Bet Championship (17/46)
Date: Wednesday 9th December, kick-off 7pm
Venue: Deepdale
Kit: 2020/21 home kit – click here to buy it now!
Head To Head: PNE wins – 30; Draws – 26; Middlesbrough - 45

Team News
Manager Alex Neil is without Ben Pearson (ankle), Patrick Bauer (Achilles), Andrew Hughes, Paul Gallagher and Jos Earl (all hamstring), Billy Bodin and Louis Moult (both knee) for Wednesday’s visit of Boro, whilst Daniel Johnson is suspended after picking up his fifth booking of the season against Wycombe at the weekend.

Darnell Fisher is available again after sitting out the last three games through suspension and his involvement could allow Alan Browne to move back into midfield, with Pearson’s absence through the injury he picked up half an hour into the clash with Gareth Ainsworth’s men.

Neil Warnock could recall Duncan Watmore, whose last midweek brace against Swansea City was not enough to earn him another start at Stoke City at the weekend, with George Saville returning to a three-man Boro midfield.

Having switched to a back three against the Swans, Warnock reverted to a back four at the bet365 Stadium, Marcus Tavernier and Marvin Johnson providing the visitors width, supporting Chuba Akpom who retained his place ahead of Britt Assombalonga up front.

With the exception of Saville for Watmore, the Boro bench remained the same, with U23 stars Isaiah Jones and Sam Folarin both included in the 20-man squad.

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Match Officials
It’s 18 months since we last saw him, but Wednesday night’s match official is a familiar face; it is now Premier League referee Andy Madley.

Before his promotion to the Select Group One list in the summer of 2019, Madley was a regular officiating the Lilywhites five time in his last season regularly refereeing at this level.

Those games included the 4-1 win over local rivals Blackburn Rovers in November, our 4-1 win at Queens Park Rangers and the victory over Bolton Wanderers at the University of Bolton Stadium in February.

He has been in charge of some of the Lilywhites’ best moments over the years, most notably the League One Play-Off Final in the 2014/15 season, where a Jermaine Beckford hat-trick led to a convincing 4-0 over Swindon Town at Wembley.

He was also the referee for our Capital One Cup victory over rivals Blackpool in the 2013/14 season. Tom Clarke netted the winner three minutes from time to secure a famous 1-0 win over our rivals.

So far this season, Andy – who is now on both the UEFA and FIFA lists, having officiated Europa League and Nations League games this campaign - has refereed 11 games in all competitions, issuing 27 yellow cards and just one red card.

He will be assisted by Edward Smart and Adrian Holmes, with another Ollie Yates as the fourth official.

Match Coverage
North End fans can watch Wednesday’s game live on iFollow PNE, with purchases of a £10 match pass available now.

Jonathan Breeze and former North End skipper Paul McKenna are on commentary duties, with replays, graphics and coverage from the Deepdale from approximately 6.30pm on Wednesday evening.

Click here now to sign up for a match pass

Linked Stories
Alex Neil: “We Know What’s Coming”: Preston North End manager Alex Neil expected experienced opposite number Neil Warnock to make his Middlesbrough side a force this season and that has proved to be the case so far. Click here for the full interview.

A Match To Remember: You could say the Lilywhites were due a home win over Middlesbrough; the last one came on Easter Monday 1972! Click here for the details of the game we have covered.

Tom Barkhuizen Feeling Fresh: Preston North End’s joint top scorer Tom Barkhuizen grabbed his fourth goal in five games at the weekend. Click here for Tom’s thoughts.

The One And Only Issue Nine: Full back Joe Rafferty is the cover star of Wednesday night’s edition of the matchday programme for the clash with Neil Warnock’s Middlesbrough. Click here for more information.

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Match Reports

Preston North End 3 Middlesbrough 0

9 December 2020

Preston North End picked up their first home win over Middlesbrough since April 1972 with a terrific 3-0 thrashing of Neil Warnock’s side.

First Team News

Alex Neil: “We Were Worthy Winners”

9 December 2020

Second half strikes from Brad Potts, Scott Sinclair and Emil Riis’ first goal at Deepdale gave the Lilywhites their biggest margin of victory over Boro since another 3-0 scoreline back in January 1953.

Potts, deflected the returning Andrew Hughes’ 25-yard strike just after the hour mark to open the floodgates, with Sinclair collecting a pass from substitute Riis to arrow in a second, before the Dane smashed home after running from half-way six minutes from time.

There were four changes to the side that had taken a point from Wycombe Wanderers the previous weekend, with Hughes and Darnell Fisher returning in the full back positions and Potts and Jayden Stockley adding to the threats at the other end of the pitch.

The first half saw the home side the dominant force, having over 60 per cent of the possession and creating the best two opportunities of the game.

On the quarter hour mark, some great play saw skipper Alan Browne – returning to his preferred midfield role after filling in at full back in the absence of Fisher – played a one-two with Barkhuizen, before the ball was slipped in for Potts in a right-hand channel. The No.44 headed towards the by-line before firing a hard shot from a tight angle, but it flashed into the side-netting.

Just after the mid-way point of the opening period, Boro ’keeper Marcus Bettinelli was required to make a fine save to keep the scores level. A ball in was flicked on by Stockley and Tom Barkhuizen superbly evaded a challenge from Dael Fry and fired a hard low shot that the on loan Fulham stopper got down to smother, grabbing the ball at the second attempt as it looked to squirm under him.

Despite the chances, it was level at the interval and the visitors started the second half brightly, winning a couple of corners and set pieces around the penalty area and looking a threat, but on 62 minutes PNE got the goal their first half display deserved.

It came from a long throw from Barkhuizen, who launched the ball in from the right touchline, which was flicked on twice, by Stockley and then Browne, eventually coming out to Hughes 25-yards out. He fired in a low left foot shot that took a decisive deflection off Potts and into the bottom right-hand corner of the Alan Kelly Town End goal.

First Team News

Winning Return Pleases Hughes

9 December 2020

The Teesiders came out after going behind and Declan Rudd was forced into his only save of the night on 71 minutes, Marvin Johnson getting a shot away in the left corner of the box, the ball turned away for a corner by both hands of the North End No.1.

The lead could have been doubled with two with two clear-cut opportunities a couple of minutes apart. Firstly, Potts saw a vicious effort from a narrow angle on the left side of the penalty area pushed up and away by Bettinelli, the ball falling for Sinclair on the edge of the six-yard box, but his header came back off the bar.

And then 90 seconds later a brilliant break saw Stockley send Sinclair away; the winger bearing down on the box before firing a hard shot that the on loan stopper again pushed away, but Stockley’s follow up flashed wide of the left-hand post.

However, they got a deserved second with nine minutes remaining as a long ball from Rudd was laid off by Sinclair to Potts, who found Riis, who in turn passed the ball inside Boro’s right back for Sinclair to cut in from the left and fire low across goal into the bottom right-hand corner to make it seven for the season for the No.31, with his first goal at Deepdale since his first for the club back in February.

And to put the icing on the cake Riis then grabbed his first goal in PR1. It was all his own work as he picked up the ball on half way and ran at the heart of the Middlesbrough back line, checking in onto his left foot in a central area, before shooting past Bettinelli low and hard to make it 3-0.

The clean sheet was almost taken from the side when visiting substitute Marcus Tavernier showed a great bit of skill in the area, with quick feet, but his driven shot came back off the right-hand post and out for goal kick and the shut out for PNE was preserved as they made it seven points from the last nine.

PNE line-up: Rudd, Fisher, Hughes (Earl, 74), Ledson, Huntington, Davies, Barkhuizen (Maguire, 74), Potts, Stockley (Riis, 79), Browne (c) (Bayliss, 75), Sinclair. Subs not used: Ripley, Harrop, Storey, Rafferty, O’Reilly.

Middlesbrough line-up: Bettinelli, Johnson, Morsy, Fry, Assombalonga (c), Howson (Tavernier, 64), McNair, Watmore (Akpom, 67), Saville (Roberts, 81), Bola, Spence. Subs not used: Stojanovic, Wing, Folarin, Coulson, Jones.

Referee: Mr A Madley

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