The international breaks for 2020 are over and done with and we are now on a run to the new year, with 11 games in 42 days starting with Saturday’s Roses battle.
Tony Pulis brings Sheffield Wednesday across the Pennines for his first game in charge of the Owls, having replaced Garry Monk in the middle of the two-week stoppage.
The former Stoke City and Middlesbrough boss brings a wealth of experience in the Championship to Hillsborough and it will be a organised side with plenty of quality that arrives at Deepdale on Saturday.
For PNE, manager Alex Neil will hope to welcome back all his international players and possibly some of the long list of injured players he had before his side went into the weekend off.
Competition: EFL Sky Bet Championship (12/46)
Date: Saturday 21st November, kick-off 3pm
Kit: 2020/21 home kit – click here to buy it now!
Head To Head: PNE wins – 44; Draws – 25; Sheffield Wednesday - 43
Manager Alex Neil had limited defensive options before the international break, with Ben Davies, Andrew Hughes and Patrick Bauer all missing, along with defensive midfielder Ben Pearson and all will be given as long as possible to prove their fitness for the game.
Alan Browne has been isolating after testing positive for Covid-19 whilst on international duty with Ireland and has not yet returned to training with the squad.
New Owls boss Tony Pulis will be without Kadeem Harris, through suspension and defender Aden Flint, who has a hamstring injury.
However, fellow defender Chey Dunkley is on his way back from injury and nearing a return and Dominic Iorfa is in the same boat.
One player who was not originally part of Sheffield Wednesday’s 25-man squad was goalkeeper Keiren Westwood. It has been suggested he could be added to the squad, however, if the Owls have already named 25 players they can only add Westwood in exceptional circumstances, so it will very much depend on what the club have already named and what the EFL deem to be ‘exceptional’.
The match referee for this weekend’s game is David Webb; taking charge of either side for the first time in the 2020/21 campaign.
We saw David three times last season, having officiated the Carabao Cup second round penalty victory over Hull City at Deepdale back in September, November’s 1-0 win over Charlton Athletic and the clash at Fulham’s Craven Cottage just before lockdown.
The Hull City tie was his first game at Deepdale since 2016, when he had the whistle in PR1 for our 2-0 home win over Peterborough United in the middle of the 2015/16 campaign.
In 2018/19 he officiated two PNE games, the away matches at Birmingham City and Derby County.
Overall then he has refereed the Lilywhites on 13 occasions, some of the most memorable games including the FA Cup win at Wycombe Wanderers, when Kevin Davies scored a stunning strike from 35 yards, and a 3-2 home win over Crewe Alexandra in 2011 in the league cup.
Overall this season, he has taken charge of nine games, issuing 30 cautions and one red card. He will be assisted by Jonathan Hunt and Craig Taylor, whilst the fourth official will be experienced Championship official Jeremy Simpson.
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 North End skipper Paul McKenna are on commentary duties, with replays, graphics and coverage from the Deepdale from 2.45pm on Saturday afternoon, with special guest Ross Wallace also joining team as a man who played for both clubs.
Alex Neil Looks Ahead To Owls Clash: Preston North End manager Alex Neil is focusing on his side’s preparations for their Roses battle with Sheffield Wednesday this weekend. Click here for the full interview.
A Match To Remember: Back in 2001, North End were hunting down a Play-Off place in their first season back in the Championship as the Owls visited Deepdale in February. Click here for the details.
Daniel Johnson Talks Reggae Boyz Experience: Preston North End midfielder Daniel Johnson got his first taste of international football in the last week, with two games for Jamaica in Saudi Arabia. Click here for DJ’s thoughts.
The One And Only Issue Six: This Saturday’s matchday programme is available for pre-order now, with midfielder Ryan Ledson the cover star. Click here for more information.
A Foot In Both Camps: Former Preston North End and Sheffield Wednesday winger Ross Wallace looks back on his time with both clubs and looks ahead to this weekend’s game, where he will be on iFollow PNE duties. Click here to read more.