We start to move towards a semblance of normality this weekend, with a small number of supporters being allowed in for Preston North End’s trip to face Norwich City at Carrow Road.
The game is one of a series of pilot events allowing 1,000 home supporters into the stadium and it is a cracker for those allowed in, as Alex Neil takes his side back to his former club.
The Lilywhites, buoyed by the midweek cup win over Derby County at Pride Park, are looking for their first three points of the season, whilst Daniel Farke’s men will be looking to build on Adam Idah’s late winning goal at Huddersfield Town in their opener last Saturday.
The PNE boss had fellow ex-City man Declan Rudd back in the line-up for the win over the Rams, having not played since the final game of 2019/20 down at Bristol City, following an injury early in pre-season and he too will hope for a chance to play against his former employers.
Competition: EFL Sky Bet Championship (2/46)
Date: Saturday 19th September, kick-off 3pm
Venue: Carrow Road
Kit: 2020/21 home kit – click here to buy it now!
Head To Head: PNE wins – 17; Draws – 16; Norwich City - 21
As mentioned above, Declan Rudd returned to the starting XI against the Rams and he will compete with Connor Ripley for a start down in his home city.
Louis Moult and Josh Earl are still both unavailable, but otherwise the manager has a fully fit squad to choose from and will have some tough calls to make given the performances in midweek, after ten changes to the opening day team against Swansea City.
For their opening league gamem Norwich City midfielder Josh Martin was unavailable due to a calf strain during their Carabao Cup tie against Luton Town, but he could return to face the Lilywhites.
Long-term absentees Grant Hanley and Sam Byram continue their rehabilitation, but there are no additional concerns for the Canaries boss.
For this Saturday’s first away game, we have the referee who took charge of our first game after lockdown, at Luton’s Kenilworth Road, which was his his fourth Preston North End game of the 2019/20 season.
The match official for the trip to Carrow Road is John Brooks, now in his third season on the Select Group Two list of referees.
The Leicestershire ref was in charge of North End’s 3-2 home win over Millwall in December 2018 and the 3-1 home victory over Stoke City in front of the Sky Sports cameras back in August 2019, as well as the New Year’s Day clash with Middlesbrough in PR1.
Last year, in the month before the pausing of the Championship, he also refereed the Lilywhites’ victory over Stoke City at the Bet365 Stadium, when Tom Barkhuizen and Alan Browne were the scorers.
So far this season he has officiated Bristol City’s 2-1 opening day win and Brentford’s 2-0 cup shock success at Southampton on Wednesday night, issuing seven yellow cards in the games.
He will be assisted by Akil Howson and Nick Greenhalgh, whilst the fourth official will be George Byrne.
North End fans can watch Saturday’s game live on iFollow PNE, with purchases of a £10 match pass available now.
Guy Clarke and a guest co-commentator are on commentary duties, with replays, graphics and coverage from Carrow Road from 2.45pm on Saturday afternoon.
Alex Neil On Another New Challenge: Over the past six months, football has had to deal with a number of new experiences and Preston North End manager Alex Neil says that playing in front of a vastly reduced crowd in the next of those when his side face Norwich City in one of the pilot events this Saturday afternoon. Click here for the full interview.
A Match To Remember: The first game of the new calendar year back in 2006 is the match we look back to ahead of our latest trip to face Norwich City at Carrow Road. Click here for the details.
Ben Pearson Hoping Fans Provide Extra Adrenaline Rush: Preston North End’s trip to Norwich City this weekend has been chosen as one of the pilot games where fans will be allowed back into stadia and midfielder Ben Pearson is seeing it as a boost. Click here for Pearo’s thoughts.
A Foot In Both Camps: Norwich City - We speak to former Preston North End and Norwich City striker Chris Brown to look ahead to the meeting of the two sides at Carrow Road this weekend. Click here to see what he had to say.