Preston North End travel to Middlesbrough on Tuesday night looking for their first league double over the Teessiders in nearly 50 years.
The Lilywhites triumphed 3-0 at home to Neil Warnock’s side back in December and will be chasing their second ever win at the Riverside Stadium, to do their first double over Boro since the 1971/72 season.
It is the 94th league meeting between the sides and the hosts go into the game with plenty of confidence after a convincing 3-0 home will over Michael O’Neill’s Stoke City at home at the weekend.
Former North End full back Darnell Fisher, who made a January move to the north east, could line up against his former team-mates – although he has been on the bench for the last couple of game for Warnock’s men.
Competition: EFL Sky Bet Championship (36/46)
Date: Tuesday 16th March, kick-off 7pm
Venue: Riverside Stadium
Kit: 2020/21 blue ‘away’ kit – click here to buy it now!
Head To Head: PNE wins – 31; Draws – 26; Middlesbrough - 45
Manager Alex Neil welcomed back Liam Lindsay to the bench at the weekend, but he told the press that the on loan Stoke City centre half had only had one day of training, so he may not be ready to start.
Late checks on Greg Cunningham and Ryan Ledson will need to be made, the pair missing the weekend’s trip to Wycombe. There is no change in the availability of the long-term absentees.
Neil Warnock said that Darnell Fisher could return to side against the Lilywhites, with Djed Spence having picked up a knock against Stoke City at the weekend.
He told the club's official website, mfc.co.uk: "Darnell’s got a nasty Achilles problem, so I didn’t want to rush him back - especially with [Anfernee] Dijksteel out. Against his old club I’m sure he’ll be busting a gut to be involved.
“I’ll see how they are because Djed [Spence] picked up a knock as well. I think both [Ashley] Fletcher and [Marcus] Tavernier are going to be training with us today. They could be back before the international break.”
The match official for Tuesday night’s game is Oliver Langford, taking charge of his first PNE game since our first home match after the first lockdown.
That was the referee’s second visit to Deepdale that season, having been the man with the whistle for our live TV game against West Bromwich.
The previous season, he was in charge of three of our Championship matches in 2018/19. His last being the 1-0 derby day win over Blackburn Rovers at Ewood Park, when Daniel Johnson scored the winner. The ref was also the match official at the end of January, as the Lilywhites triumphed 2-0 at the Bet365 Stadium against Stoke City.
Prior to that he refereed our Carabao Cup third round tie with Tuesday’s opponents Middlesbrough back in September and before that it had been 12 months since he last took charge of a game at Deepdale.
The West Midlands official, prior to the aforementioned Boro game, last took charge of a clash with Cardiff City at Deepdale in September 2017, when the Lilywhites ran out 3-0 winners against then Neil Warnock’s Bluebirds. The previous season he took charge of another three North End games. His first was the live Sky victory over Wigan Athletic back in September 2016, his second, our first match of the new year, at Burton Albion and his third the goalless draw away at Barnsley in February.
He also twice took charge of the Lilywhites in 2015/16; the goalless draw against Derby County, when goalkeeper Anders Lindegaard made his debut for the club, and another trip to Middlesbrough. His first game in change of North End before that was the clash with Swindon at the County Ground in November 2014.
This will be his second Boro game of the season, having officiated their home win over Barnsley back in October. Overall, he has refereed 25 games so far this season, that have seen 92 cautions and four red cards. He will be assisted by Jonathan Hunt and Michael George, with experienced Championship match official Andy Haines acting as the fourth official for the game.
North End fans can watch Tuesday’s game live on iFollow PNE, with purchases of a £10 match pass available now.
Guy Clarke and former North End defender Michael Jackson are on commentary duties, with replays, graphics and coverage from the Riverside from approximately 6.30pm on Tuesday evening.
Alex Neil: ‘We Should Have A Steely Determination’: Preston North End manager Alex Neil says his side should have come away from Wycombe with a real desire to put things right at Middlesbrough on Tuesday night. Click here for the full interview.
A Match To Remember: Almost two years to the day, on a Tuesday night at the Riverside, Paul Gallagher and Jayden Stockley saw the Lilywhites come from behind to pick up their first league win at the Teesside stadium. Click here for the details.
Alan Browne Using Weekend As Motivation: Preston North End club captain Alan Browne spoke strongly to iFollow PNE about the need for the team to show personal pride when they head to Middlesbrough on Tuesday night. Click here for Alan’s thoughts.