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16 December 2023 Venue Deepdale Attendance

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English Football League - Championship

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Match Previews

Match Preview: Watford (H)

14 December 2023

After taking four points from two away days during the past week, Preston North End are back at home on Saturday to take on Watford.

Match Details

Date: Saturday 16th December, 3pm kick-off
Venue: Deepdale
Competition: Sky Bet Championship
Kit: Home kit

Supporter Information

Tickets for this fixture will remain on sale right up until kick-off, available to buy in person from the ticket office, over the phone on 0344 856 1966 and online.

Home supporters can head into The Gentry Bar from 11am for pre-match drinks and entertainment, and it will then reopen after full-time. Full timings will be confirmed in our Matchday Information article.

As part of the Whites Christmas Toy Appeal, in partnership with Rock FM Mission Christmas, fans can also support vulnerable local families by donating unused, unwrapped toys before the match at The Gentry Bar.

Supporters can use the matchday shuttle bus for this fixture, with return tickets priced at £6 on-board and timings can be found below:

Leyland Tesco (Stop A – Car Park) – 1.20pm
The Railway Pub, Leyland – 1.30pm
Ye Olde Hob Inn, Bamber Bridge – 1.35pm
Beam and Brycg Pub, Bamber Bridge – 1.40pm
Arrive at Deepdale, Lowthorpe Road – 2pm

Who’s Available?


Manager Ryan Lowe confirmed on Thursday morning that striker Milutin Osmajić would get two days of training in before the weekend, after recovering from injury and a bout of tonsilitis.

Calvin Ramsay is also due to be back involved after missing two games himself through illness.

Long-term absentee Emil Riis may feature in Tuesday’s Central League Cup tie against Burnley and will be assessed from that point to see when a return to league action might be on the cards.

Opposition Focus


Watford sit 12th in the Championship ahead of their visit to Lancashire and they’ve made themselves a hard side to beat in recent weeks, having lost just twice in their previous 11 fixtures.

Under Valérien Ismaël, who took Barnsley to the Play-Offs in the 2020/21 season, the Hornets will be looking to push for promotion back to the top flight in just their second campaign back in the Championship.

24-year-old Mileta Rajović – formerly of Emil Riis’ ex-employers Randers – has been the man scoring the goals for Watford so far this term, while there’s plenty of familiar and experienced faces in the visitors' ranks, including Jake Livermore, Tom Ince and Ben Hamer.

A Recent Clash

North End secured a fifth successive Championship clean sheet after drawing 0-0 at home to Watford last August.

Follow The Action

Supporters worldwide can listen to the match live on iFollow PNE, with match passes costing £2.50 and monthly passes on sale for £4.49.

Fans outside of the UK and Ireland can also watch the game live. Match passes are available to buy for £10 here, while half-season cards are also on sale for just £85!

All the action will also be covered across the club’s social media channels and here on the website.

Match Officials


Referee: Sunny Singh Gill
Assistant Referees: Mark Stevens and Jonathan Hunt
Fourth Official: David Webb

Sunny Singh Gill will referee PNE for the first time on Saturday afternoon, marking the fourth Championship match of his career.

So far this term, he’s shown 91 yellow cards and three reds in 22 games.

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Match Reports

Match Report: PNE 1 Watford 5

16 December 2023

Four second-half goals from Watford saw Preston North End beaten 5-1 at Deepdale.

In a first half packed with chances, Will Keane put North End ahead with a clever flick beyond the goalkeeper, but Vakoun Bayo scored late in the half to level.

Second-half strikes from Matheus Martin, Edo Kayembe, Ismaël Koné and a second of the day for Bayo condemned PNE to a heavy defeat.

Ryan Lowe opted to make two changes to the side which won 3-1 at Huddersfield Town during the week, with Ali McCann and Milutin Osmajić coming in to start.

After Koné fired over for Watford in the very early stages, Jordan Storey couldn’t have done much more six minutes in, but goalkeeper Ben Hamer came up with a remarkable stop to somehow prevent the defender’s powerful header going in.

Hamer then came up with another big double save in the 13th minute to deny Potts at the end of what was a superb team move.

There was a huge let off for North End shortly after as Ken Sema’s corner landed with Wesley Hoedt just a matter of inches from the goal-line, but he headed wide and Deepdale breathed a sigh of relief.

It then looked even more likely that Watford would take the lead two minutes later when Vakoun Bayo rounded Freddie Woodman and looked like he had a tap-in. That was until Jack Whatmough came charging back and astoundingly cleared off the line.

From that point, PNE started to create a flurry of chances, with Osmajić and Keane among those trying their luck, while Millar saw an audacious long-range strike tipped wide.

Keane would have been frustrated with a tame effort he had saved in the 26th minute, but that disappointment didn’t last long as, in the next attack, the lively Millar beat Tom Dele-Bashiru and cut back for the striker, who cheekily flicked into the back of the net to finally break the deadlock.


That was North End’s eighth shot on target in a thrilling opening half hour, however it was the visitors next on the scoresheet three minutes before the break through Bayo, who headed Hoedt’s inviting cross into the bottom corner.

It was a half which could have produced plenty more goals, although it took just 17 seconds after the break for the next to arrive, as the Hornets broke quickly through Martins, and the winger slotted past Woodman.

Potts had a golden chance to draw PNE back level in the 51st minute after more sublime skill from Millar on the left, but his close-range effort was blocked by ‘keeper Hamer.

Instead, it was Watford who scored again just moments later as Kayembe drilled home from 20 yards.

Four North End changes followed and one of those – Robbie Brady – found Osmajić in the 69th minute, and the Montenegrin flicked a header just wide.

Two minutes on, Watford made it four as Kayembe slotted a pass through the PNE defence for Bayo to finish off, before Koné made it five in the 77th minute.

Robbie Brady almost got one back in the sixth minute of added-time via a 25-yard free-kick, but Hamer's tip wide brought about the final whistle.

PNE line-up: Woodman; Storey, Whatmough (Holmes, 59), Lindsay; Potts (Hughes, 58), McCann, Whiteman (Brady, 59), Browne, Millar; Osmajić, Keane (Evans, 59). Subs not used: Cornell, Frøkjær, Ledson, Woodburn, Best.

Watford line-up: Hamer; Dele-Bashiru (Porteous, 67), Sierralta, Hoedt, Lewis; Livermore; Martins (Pollock, 67), Kayembe, Koné (Chakvetadze, 83), Sema (Rajović, 68); Bayo (Healey, 80). Subs not used: Bachmann, Ince, Asprilla, Andrews.

Attendance: 14,389 (898 Watford fans).

Referee: Mr S Singh Gill.

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