Preston North End head to the capital for the third time this season, looking to continue their 100 per cent record in London in 2020/21.
Wins over Brentford and Queens Park Rangers have come and gone and now they head south of the River Thames to face Gary Rowett’s Millwall on Tuesday night, looking to build on back-to-back home clean sheets, including Saturday’s 3-0 win over Huddersfield Town.
The Lions have drawn more teams than anyone else in the Championship this season, with less defeats than some of the top six, proving they are very tough to break down and PNE will have to be at their creative best for the trip to The Den.
With eight players having missed the weekend’s victory over the Terriers, manager Alex Neil will hope to welcome some back in time to face the Lions, especially having been unchanged for the two games last week.
Competition: EFL Sky Bet Championship (34/46)
Date: Tuesday 2nd March, kick-off 7pm
Venue: The Den
Kit: 2020/21 green ‘third’ kit – click here to buy it now!
Head To Head: PNE wins – 25; Draws – 11; Millwall - 31
Alex Neil’s injury list at the weekend included Liam Lindsay, Paul Gallagher, Ryan Ledson, Sean Maguire and Billy Bodin, but he admitted in his pre-match press conference that he hoped a number would be closer to a return.
Long-term injuries to Declan Rudd, Patrick Bauer and Louis Moult mean they are still unavailable though.
Meanwhile, Gary Rowett has suggested that Jake Cooper might not be fit to return for the game: “I think he has a chance of featuring next week, probably the back end of the week if everything goes to plan,” Rowett said.
For their defeat at Barnsley, the Lions were without Ryan Leonard, Murray Wallace and Kenneth Zohore. Connor Mahoney and Maikel Kieftenbeld are the two closest to a return, but are also set to miss the Lilywhites game.
For the third time this season, taking charge of North End as referee on Tuesday night is experienced official Keith Stroud.
His games earlier this season were the televised encounter with Cardiff City and the Christmas victory over Coventry City, both at Deepdale, and he has also officiated the Lions once already, in a 3-1 defeat at Nottingham Forest in January.
Before this year, he last took charge of North End for our 2-1 home win over Fulham in December 2019. Before that he also refereed of our win at Middlesbrough in March that year and the 1-1 draw with Swansea City back in January, his first game at Deepdale for a number of years.
In 2017/18, the Hampshire official took charge of two PNE games, both away from Deepdale, the first at Birmingham City back in September 2017, when goals from Tom Barkhuizen, Daniel Johnson and Jordan Hugill saw the side come from behind at the break to end Harry Redknapp’s tenure at St Andrews and the second, the win at Burton Albion in December the same year.
In 2016/17 his only game with the whistle for a PNE game was our loss at Brentford, whilst the previous season he also took charge of another game at Birmingham, as North End came from 2-0 down against what was then Gary Rowett’s men, with goals from Alan Browne and now Bluebirds defender Greg Cunningham earning the Lilywhites a point.
That was his second North End game in two months after he took charge of PNE’s home win over Sheffield Wednesday in February 2015, as well as PNE's last clash with a steel city side at Deepdale, 2014/15's FA Cup tie with Sheffield United. The win over the Owls was his last visit to Deepdale prior to January.
The official also refereed the Lilywhites Play-Off clash with Rotherham United in May 2014 as well as the previous season’s 3-2 home win over Ipswich Town, when Joe Garner scored a second half hat-trick as a substitute to knock the Tractor Boys out of the FA Cup at the fourth round stage.
His two previous league trips to Deepdale prior to that also saw wins, the famous 6-0 triumph over Cardiff City, which led to the Play-Offs in 2009 and a 2-1 win over West Brom the previous year, when the Lilywhites ended the game with nine men after the dismissal of both Youl Mawene and Chris Brown.
On Tuesday, Keith will be assisted by Sam Lewis and Jonathan Hunt, with Nigel Lugg acting as the fourth official. It will be Keith’s 27th game of the season, having so far issued 69 cautions and two red cards.
North End fans in the UK and Ireland can watch Tuesday’s game live on iFollow PNE, with purchases of a £10 match pass available now.
Guy Clarke and former North End full back Paul Sparrow are on commentary duties, with replays, graphics and coverage from The Den from approximately 6.30pm on Tuesday evening.
Alex Neil On Tough Decisions Ahead Of Lions: Preston North End manager Alex Neil admits he will have a tough decision to make when it comes to naming his team for Tuesday night’s trip to Millwall. Click here for the full interview.
A Match To Remember: Back in September 2005 North End picked up a positive result at a sunny Den, when Patrick Agyemang scored the winner for the Lilywhites to ensure Millwall remained bottom of the early Championship table. Click here for the details.
Scott Sinclair Wants More Goals: Preston North End top scorer Scott Sinclair is one away from going into double figures for the season and the attacker is looking for that and more between now and the end of the season. Click here for Scott’s thoughts.