Bristol City were one of the Lilywhites major rivals in League One last season and manager Simon Grayson expects another tough test in the Championship.
The Robins head up to Deepdale with North End looking to get back to winning ways under the lights in PR1, but the gaffer does not expect an easy ride against the 2015 League One champions.
“We’ve had a tough run of games and this one won’t be any easier,” he said. “We know what Bristol City are all about. They were worthy winners of the league last season and won the JPT, so we know a lot about them and they’ll know a lot about us.
“We are going into a run of games where we are on an even keel in terms of budgets spent, quality of players and expectancy levels within the clubs. The three games we’ve just lost are against teams who should be challenging at the top at the end of the season.
“Bristol City, like us and MK Dons, will as a first port of call, want to ensure they stay in the division. It is a tough game, we know how they will play, they have kept the hardcore of the squad together, like we have, they have added one or two new players and tried to spend some serious money as well, which shows their ambition. It is another tough game, but one we are looking forward to.”
Steve Cotterill’s side have had equally as a tough a start as PNE, but will be heading to Lancashire looking to kick start their campaign: “They will be looking to give themselves the opportunity to win matches. They have reinforced with a couple of centre backs in the window and will want to try and keep a clean sheet,” continued the Lilywhites boss.
“We know their threats, they will know our threats and hopefully we can get a few breaks that we haven’t been getting over the last few games and we can get the result.
“A lot of Championship managers have been saying that they have been playing well and not getting the breaks and we fall into that category as well. Hopefully we can get the breaks and secure a victory.”
After Saturday’s loss to Derby County the manager felt his side could have taken more of a gamble in the closing minutes and been more direct, however, he is happy to win whatever way it comes.
“I would take winning ugly every week, but if you can marry playing well with getting a result, then that is the perfect scenario.
“We want to make sure that we win football matches and to do that then we have to mix our game up. We want to pass the ball and play good football, but, as I said to the players after the game on Saturday, we needed to be a bit more direct in the closing stages and that might have got us a draw out of the game.
“We have to do that on Tuesday night; if it means a scrappy, poxy goal, then we will take that, or if it is a lovely footballing move and we score, then we will take that as well!” He added.