We welcome the fifth of this season’s visitors from Yorkshire as Leeds United arrive at Deepdale for the 25th time for a league match, making this our 50th meeting in all in the competition.
Leeds have been infrequent visitors, with those 24 previous meetings spread over more than 90 years since they first turned up here in 1925.
There is some symmetry in their record, as the most recent game here repeated the scoreline in that first game, both resulting in 4-1 defeats for North End. Fortunately, we have had much the better of the contests in between those two heavy defeats, with 13 wins and five draws outweighing the additional four victories our guests have claimed.
There was a 40 year gap in games between our clubs here from 1964 until 2004 and it was to be another two years before we finally claimed all the points for the first time in 42 years.
We have twice scored five goals in a match in this fixture, winning by 5-1 in 1927 and 5-0 in 1936, whilst we have also triumphed by 4-1 in 1962 and 2006. With an aggregate of 77 goals and only one goalless draw, the odds on neither team scoring today must be pretty long.
United are not the only side from the city – or indeed Elland Road – that we have met in league action. United formed in 1919 after the Football League forced Leeds City to disband after making illegal payments to players during the First World War. Leeds City joined the league in 1905 and faced North End twice at Deepdale, both of which we won. After City were forced out of business, United took their place in the league and also moved into City’s former Elland Road ground.
Numerous players have played for both clubs, with several members of our successful side of the early 2000s making the move east, in David Healy, Richard Cresswell and Eddie Lewis and they were subsequently joined by Sean Gregan and Andy Lonergan.
Neil Kilkenny and Jermaine Beckford numbered Leeds amongst their former clubs and going further back in time, Frank Worthington and Clive Clark wore both versions of our clubs’ white shirts. Of our current squad, Paul Huntington spent two years at Elland Road after leaving Newcastle United, during which time he made 32 appearances and scored three goals.
On This Date
Our regular left back in the late 1960 and early 1970s, John Ritchie, was born on this date in 1944. From Ashington in Northumberland, which was also the birthplace of the Charlton brothers and the Milburn footballing family, John joined us from Port Vale in 1967 and was a fixture of the side for the next five years, despite suffering regular knee injuries that saw all four cartilages removed.
Described at all three of his league clubs as ‘hard and uncompromising’, he also managed to score from over forty yards for both Port Vale and North End, his example for North End coming in a 3-0 win over Watford in August 1969. He left for Bradford City in 1972 and died in 2012, having worked as a prison officer after ending his playing career.
Scottish winger Kevin Magee, who spent 18 months at Deepdale in the 1990s, has his 47th birthday today.
Adam Barton made his North End debut on this date in 2010 as a promising midfielder. He made 58 appearances for us before moving to Coventry but his career here was interrupted by a bad leg break in 2012. He subsequently played for Fleetwood and Portsmouth and is one of several former North Enders playing in Scotland, Adam being on the books of Partick Thistle.
We have played 17 previous home games on this date, losing only once whilst winning ten and drawing six.
Notable matches include 4-0 wins over Wolves (1893), Gillingham (1976) and Mansfield (1990). We also overcame West Bromwich Albion by 4-1 on this date in 1937 to reach that season’s FA Cup Final.
Frank Becton scored his fourth hat-trick of the season in the 1893 win over Wolves, whilst Steve Harper recorded his only treble for the club as we overcame Mansfield in the 1990 fixture.
Last Five Games At Deepdale
Preston North End 1 (Vermijl) Leeds United 4 (Roofe, Sacko, Doukara, Hernandez), 26th December 2016
Preston North End 1 (Hugill) Leeds United 1 (Wood (pen)), 7th May 2016
Preston North End 1 (Hume) Leeds United 2 (Kilkenny, Paynter), 8th March 2011
Preston North End 4 (Dichio, Pugh, Nugent, Neal) Leeds United 1 (Healy), 31st October 2006
Preston North End 0 Leeds United 2 (Hulse, Richardson), 8th May 2006