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26 September 2020 Venue Deepdale Attendance

Kick off 15:00 (UK)

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English Football League - Championship

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Match Previews

Stoke City Match Preview

24 September 2020

There are two sides looking for their first league win of the season at Deepdale on Saturday afternoon.

First Team News

Alex Neil Joins Football Calls For Fans

24 September 2020

Both sides have done well in the Carabao Cup, with Michael O’Neill’s visitors Stoke City having knocked out Blackpool (on penalties), Wolves and Gillingham to set up a fourth round tie at Aston Villa, but they will be looking for three points in PR1.

In the league the Potters picked up a point at Millwall on the opening day, but lost at home to Bristol City last Sunday, a game North End boss Alex Neil watched live at the bet365 Stadium and he will be hoping he learned from the encounter.

The sides made nine and eight changes respectively for their cup games in midweek and the managers can again be expected to have plenty to consider for the clash, which can be watched live on iFollow PNE.

Match Information
Competition: EFL Sky Bet Championship (3/46)
Date: Saturday 26th September, kick-off 3pm
Venue: Deepdale
Kit: 2020/21 home kit – click here to buy it now!
Head To Head: PNE wins – 48; Draws – 22; Stoke City - 35

Team News
Daniel Johnson (groin) and Josh Earl, both join Louis Moult (knee) on the injured list for the clash with the Potters, but after nine changes on Tuesday night, manager Alex Neil has plenty of options available to him.

Paul Huntington missed the Brighton & Hove Albion tie due to bookings in the previous two rounds, but he is free to resume availability for the return of league action on Saturday.

Potters boss Michael O’Neill also made eight changes to his starting XI for their Carabao Cup tie against Gillingham on Wednesday. Adam Davies, Morgan Fox and Tommy Smith were the only survivors from the previous Sunday’s encounter with Bristol City at the bet365 Stadium.

They too could make big changes for the trip to Deepdale, but Welsh midfielder Joe Allen (Achilles), Thibaud Verlinden (anterior cruciate ligament) and Ryan Shawcross, who has had a series of injuries, have all been out for much of 2020 and, despite Verlinden (who was injured against PNE in February) getting 45 minutes for the U23s this week, none are ready to return just yet.

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Match Officials
The referee appointed to take charge of Saturday's game will be refereeing at Deepdale for the first time.

Matthew Donohue will be the man with the whistle for the game, having only officiated the Lilywhites once before, our 4-0 Carabao Cup first round win over Bradford City last season.

Last season the match official took charge of 30 games, issuing 112 cautions and six red cards and this season he has officiated two games, Brighton's 4-0 win over Portsmouth - which set up their tie at Deepdale in the Carabao Cup - and Middlesbrough's 1-1 home draw with Bournemouth.

The other members of the third team involved in Saturday's clash see Shaun Hudson and Wade Smith as the assistants and Jeremy Simpson taking fourth official responsibilities.

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 captain and midfielder Paul McKenna are on commentary duties, with replays, graphics and coverage from Deepdale from 2.45pm on Saturday afternoon.

Click here now to sign up for a match pass

Linked Stories
Alex Neil Joins Football Calls For Fans: Preston North End manager Alex Neil looked ahead to the weekend’s clash with Stoke City, but began by calling for help for smaller clubs, who will struggle after the cancellation of pilot events to get fans back. Click here for the full interview.

A Match To Remember: We look back 18 years to a memorable game from the start of the 2002/03 campaign, when Craig Brown's Lilywhites picked up their first three points of the season against the Potters. Click here for the details.

Declan Rudd Glad To Be Back: Preston North End’s only 100 per cent appearance maker in 2019/20 unfortunately missed most of pre-season through injury. Click here for Dec’s thoughts.

A Foot In Both Camps: Stoke City - There are very few former players who played for both Preston North End and Stoke City who are still as popular as the man we spoke to, to look ahead to this weekend’s game. Click here to see who it is.

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Match Reports

Preston North End 0 Stoke City 1

26 September 2020

The controversial sending-off of Tom Barkhuizen, just 22 minutes into the game, made it an uphill battle against Stoke City at Deepdale.

The No.29, playing in a wing back role, slipped as he went into a 50-50 tackle with Morgan Fox, who was also going to ground, with referee Matthew Donohue immediately pulling out the red card.

It looked harsh and replays from multiple angles showed the decision to be even worse at second watch, but the visitors took advantage with Lee Gregory scoring the only goal of the game six minutes before half-time to take the three points.

To the point of the red card and even until the opening goal, it was North End who were in the ascendency and looked like they had the opportunity to record their first win of the campaign.

They had multiple corners and free kicks around the penalty area in the opening stages. From one of those – after a foul on Barkhuizen – Ryan Ledson delivered a cross from the right and Jayden Stockley, playing up front with Sean Maguire in a very attacking 3-5-2 formation, hit a sweet volley at the back post, but it was just wide of the left-hand upright.

There was a strong shout for a penalty just before the 15-minute mark when skipper Alan Browne was upended after an excellent reverse pass from Maguire. On second look at this incident, the tackle actually occurred just outside the box, but not even a foul was awarded!

The match-changing decision came just before the half’s mid-point, as Barkhuizen broke towards a ball down the right-hand side. He and Fox both approached the ball at pace, but the North End man could see that he might not win the ball and eased up, slipping as he approached his opponent. Fox slid in, with his studs raised, but Barkhuizen reached the ball first and then the two players’ shins came together.

Official Donohue raced over and quickly pulled out the red card. Manager Alex Neil quickly confirmed after the game that the sending-off would be appealed, but the decision changed the game.

The best chances were still coming to PNE and 12 minutes before the break, Scott Sinclair tested Adam Davies in the Potters goal, after a foul on Ledson by Harry Souttar in a right-hand channel 25 yards from goal.

But the game’s solitary goal came on 39 minutes as Jon Obi Mikel found space on the right of the penalty area to play a ball into the back post, inside the six-yard box, where former Halifax Town and Millwall forward Lee Gregory slid in to fire home.

The second half saw the game open up, with the Lilywhites chasing an equaliser and Declan Rudd was needed as City countered on a couple of occasions, saving at the feet of visiting captain Sam Clucas after a clever Steven Flecther lay-off and then later on making himself big to force Fletcher to hit the bar with a chance when clean through.

But the closing stages saw Alex Neil’s side back on the front foot. With eight minutes to go, Browne slid through substitute Brad Potts, who was in a race with goalkeeper Davies to reach the ball. He got a toe on it, but the keeper just managed to get something on the ball and as it spun away, it luckily landed for the stopper and not back to Potts.

And in the final minute of normal time another change, Joe Rafferty delivered one of many good free kicks into the penalty area and Stockley rose highest, but the ball was just behind him and he had to generate his own pace, leaving Davies with the opportunity to dive and save in his top right-hand corner and the visitors held on for the win.

PNE line-up: Rudd, Barkhuizen, Sinclair (Potts, 71), Storey (Hughes, 59), Bauer, Davies, Pearson, Browne (c), Ledson (Rafferty, 81), Stockley, Maguire. Subs not used: Ripley, Harrop, Gallagher, Bodin.

Stoke City line-up: Davies, Fox, McClean (Tymon, 64), Chester, Mikel, Smith, Gregory, Oakley-Boothe (Thompson, 85), Fletcher (Brown, 77), Clucas (c), Souttar. Subs not used: Butland, Batth, Powell, Campbell.

Referee: Mr M Donohue

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