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Kick off 15:00 (UK)

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02 January 2021 Venue Deepdale Attendance

Kick off 15:00 (UK)

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English Football League - Championship

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Match Previews

Nottingham Forest Match Preview

31 December 2020

The new year begins with the Lilywhites welcoming Chris Hughton and his Nottingham Forest side to Deepdale.

First Team News

Watch PNE Kick-Off 2021 At Deepdale!

30 December 2020

The experienced manager took charge at the City Ground earlier in the season and has steadied the ship, with the side arriving at Deepdale three unbeaten and looking to kick on in the new year.

For Alex Neil and his men, they are looking to do the same, with three wins in a row and three clean sheets. They have also done the same in the last three home games, giving them a platform to take into 2021.

This is also the final game of the first half of the season and the 12th match in 42 days since the November international break and both sides will want to make it count.

Match Information
Competition: EFL Sky Bet Championship (23/46)
Date: Saturday 2nd January, kick-off 3pm
Venue: Deepdale
Kit: 2020/21 home kit – click here to buy it now!
Head To Head: PNE wins – 42; Draws – 31; Nottingham Forest - 32

Team News
Alex Neil welcomed back Brad Potts and Andrew Hughes in Tuesday night's win over Coventry City, but he was without top scorer Scott Sinclair, however, he stated in his post-match interview that the former Celtic man is not serious and could be back for the weekend's visit of Forest.

Skipper Alan Browne left the field shortly after half-time against the Sky Blues and will need to be assessed, with fellow midfielder Ben Pearson, along with attackers Louis Moult and Billy Bodin and defender Patrick Bauer all still absent.

For the visitors, Scott McKenna is nearing a return and he could be fit enough to be included at Deepdale. Jack Colback and Luke Freeman are the only players definitely ruled out.

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Match Officials
It was November 2019 last time Saturday’s match official, Tim Robinson, took charge of the Lilywhites, our trip to Derby County and his last game here at Deepdale was bizarrely the goalless draw at home to Saturday’s visitors Nottingham Forest in February the same year.

Prior to that, we saw the referee in December 2017. That game, a 1-0 win at home to Sheffield United, saw Robinson as the man with the whistle at a PNE game, for the second time in three weeks.

Tim, from West Sussex, in his ninth year on the EFL list and was the match official for the 1-1 draw with Norwich City at Carrow Road in November that same season. Before that, he last took charge of North End in his first trip to Deepdale, when we overcame Birmingham City 2-1 back in March of the previous season.

That was his fourth game overall in charge of the Lilywhites, the others all being away trips; Brentford, Ipswich and a 2-0 victory at Coventry City when Joe Garner and then club captain Tom Clarke were on the scoresheet.

This will be his 12th game of the season, his last being table-toppers West Brom’s 2-0 win at Stoke City, in front of the Sky Sports cameras three weeks ago. This season he has issued 35 cautions and one red in those previous 11 games.

This is his second Derby game of the season, having overseen their 2-2 away draw with Stoke City back in August.

The assistants on Saturday afternoon will be Andrew Fox and Wade Smith, whilst the fourth official is experienced referee Anthony Backhouse.

Match Coverage
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 PNE and Forest skipper Paul McKenna will be on commentary duties, with replays, graphics and coverage from Deepdale from approximately 2.30pm on Saturday afternoon.

Click here now to sign up for a match pass

Linked Stories
Alex Neil Wants To Keep On An ‘Upward Trajectory’: Preston North End manager Alex Neil is looking to begin 2021 in the same way his side ended 2020, moving in an upward direction. Click here for the full interview.

A Match To Remember: We go back to September 2008 for our latest look back at a game against our upcoming opponents, when Alan Irvine's Lilywhites continued their positive start to what would end up being a Play-Off campaign. Click here for the details of the game we have covered.

Declan Rudd Looking To Start 2021 Positively: Preston North End goalkeeper Declan Rudd says that the recent form of the team has been down to ‘everyone doing their jobs’. Click here for Dec’s thoughts.

The One And Only Issue 12: The cover star for our first edition of the matchday programme in 2021 is Tuesday night’s second goal hero Sean Maguire. Click here for more information.

A Foot In Both Camps: Ahead of the first game of 2021 we caught up with former North End and Nottingham Forest midfielder Brian O’Neil to preview the clash between the two sides at Deepdale. Click here for the full interview.

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Match Reports

Preston North End 0 Nottingham Forest 1

2 January 2021

A controversial penalty from Lewis Grabban gave Nottingham Forest the points with their only shot on target at Deepdale in a 1-0 win for the Reds.

First Team News

Alex Believes Penalty Incident ‘Tainted’ Game

2 January 2021

The award of the spot kick itself was already questionable – Darnell Fisher adjudged to have handballed when the ball was blasted at him on the floor from two yards - before the frontman kicked the ball twice in the action of taking it, which should have resulted in a free kick to PNE, only for official Tim Robinson and his dug out side assistant to miss the obvious error.

The goal came completely against the run of play as well, with Brice Samba twice keeping out the Lilywhites, with the woodwork also coming to the visiting side’s favour on more than one occasion.

Manager Alex Neil was forced to make changes for the first games of 2021, with captain Alan Browne out through injury and joined on the sidelines by Josh Harrop. Tom Bayliss came in for his first start in the league, with Ryan Ledson and Brad Potts also included after impressing from the bench in the win over Coventry the previous Tuesday evening.

The first half was a cagey affair, the best chances being a blocked Ledson shot and a low Johnson effort that saw the No.11 and skipper for the day stood on afterwards, leaving him with stud marks on the inside of his knee.

But after the break there was a verve about the Lilywhites, who attacked with vigour from the off. Eight minutes in Forest ’keeper Samba made a superb fingertip stop to deny Tom Barkhuizen, who powered an effort towards the top right corner from Johnson’s deflected right-wing cross, after the captain had been freed down the flank by Bayliss.

North End’s No.29 kept getting in good positions and three minutes later Potts this time found Johnson on the opposite side of the penalty area. This time his pull back eventually found the former Morecambe man, who checked inside and drove a left-footed curler that this time beat Brice, but
smashed against the cross bar.

It became a trio of chances for Barky on 65 minutes, when Hughes overlapped down the left-hand side and pulled the ball back for Johnson; his shot was blocked, as was one from Potts, the ball then falling kindly for forward, whose shot was this time over the bar, with his slightly leaning back as he got the effort away.

But at the half’s mid-point came the controversy. Forest made a rare foray into the penalty area and Grabban saw a shot blocked, it ricocheting into the path of Cafu, who drove the ball back in. Fisher was on the floor, putting his hand out to stop him hitting the ground with a thump, and the ball came off his arm and after a long delay and the shouts of the visiting players, the match official finally blew his whistle and pointed to the spot.

After a long delay Grabban stepped up, but as he took the penalty he slipped slightly, his left foot hitting the ball, before his right foot struck it, taking it down the middle of the goal, Declan Rudd diving to his right. Johnson and Rudd were both in prime position to see what had happened, but the referee waved away their protestations and awarded the goal.

The cross bar again denied North End with eight minutes left as Paul Gallagher – who had come on for Bayliss – whipped over a right-wing corner that Forest failed to clear and it fell to Ben Davies, who dropped a shoulder and smashed a left-foot shot from 12 yards, that cannoned against the bar and was eventually cleared.

There were five minutes of added time, but due to an injury play continued and in the 98th minute another substitute, Jayden Stockley, was fouled by Samba Sow and this gave Gallagher a chance to deliver a free kick from 24 yards, just to the left of centre.

He went around the wall, hard and low to the goalkeeper’s left, but he managed to get hands to push the ball away for a corner and give his side the points.

PNE line-up: Rudd, Fisher, Hughes, Ledson, Huntington, Davies, Potts (Riis, 77), Bayliss (Gallagher, 77), Maguire (Stockley, 87), Johnson (c), Barkhuizen. Subs not used: Ripley, Earl, Storey, Rafferty, Holland-Wilkinson, O’Reilly.

Nottingham Forest line-up: Samba, Christie, Figueiredo, Worrall, Ribeiro, Grabban (c) (Taylor, 90), Ameobi (Lolley, 63), Cafu (Arter, 88), Sow, Yates, Knockaert. Subs not used: Smith, Bong, Jenkinson, Mighten, Guerrero, McKenna.

Referee: Mr T Robinson

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