We make the second of three trips to Sheffield this season, this Good Friday game at Hillsborough sandwiched between our visits to Bramall Lane in January and April.
This is our 50th league match against the Owls in their home city, with the first five taking place at their Olive Grove ground.
Fans travelling to Sheffield by train will see the site of the ground as they arrive at Midland Road station.
In 1899, Wednesday moved across the city to the Owlerton district, from where they get their nickname and their home ground held that title until 1914 when the Parliamentary constituency of Hillsborough was created and the football club changed the name of their ground to reflect this.
It was not only the name of their ground that has changed over the years, as until 1929, the football club was known simply as The Wednesday Football Club. This unusual title matches our own to some extent, as it was derived from The Wednesday Cricket Club, whose member formed a football section in 1867, making them one of the oldest football clubs in the world.
Why ‘The Wednesday’? Because that was their traditional day off in Sheffield in the 19th century and the only day they could play cricket.
Our 49 previous league games against the Owls have resulted in 11 wins and nine draws for North End, producing exactly 50 goals, whilst our hosts have 29 wins and 81 goals to their name.
Our 5-0 victory in our first ever visit to Olive Grove in 1893 remains our biggest win over Wednesday at either of their home grounds and in 1957 we shared eight goals in a 4-4 draw.
Perhaps surprisingly, this is one of six occasions when we have recorded a 4-4 scoreline on our travels in the league and another notable feature of the match was that both teams fielded a Finney in the No.11 shirt – and both scored twice in the match, Alan for the home side and of course Tom for North End.
Derek Wilkinson and the exotically named Redfern Froggatt were the other Owls’ scorers whilst Tommy Thompson also scored a brace for North End.
On This Date
A notable game took place on this date over 100 years ago. In 1889, we found ourselves at the Oval Cricket Ground in south London, but we had not reverted to our roots as a cricket club. Instead, we were contesting that year’s FA Cup Final, having lost the previous season to West Bromwich Albion.
Our opponents on this occasion were their west midlands neighbours Wolverhampton Wanderers. A crowd of 25,000 turned to see us put right the mistakes of the previous season, as first half goals goals from Fred Dewhurst and Jimmy Ross, followed by a 70th minute clincher from Sammy Thompson, saw us win 3-0 as we maintained our run of not conceding a goal in the competition.
Winning the FA Cup saw us become the first club to achieve the ‘double’, as a few weeks earlier we had clinched the first ever Football League title without losing a single match.
Twenty-two years ago today, Tom Finney opened a new stand at the McCain Stadium before we went on to overcome Scarborough 2-1 at their ground on Seamer Road. Scarborough went out of the league soon after before folding completely but a phoenix club now play in the seaside resort, but not at Seamer Road, which was finally demolished a couple of years ago.
Former centre half Tony Singleton was born 82 years ago today. Tony only scored twice in 333 games for North End and both came in the FA Cup. His 45-yard screamer, hit with his left foot, took us to the 1964 FA Cup Final as we overcame Swansea Town at Villa Park. He later emigrated to the United States where he played for the New York Generals before passing away in 2008.
Dominic Ludden is another ex-player celebrating his birthday today as he reaches 42. He spent two years at Deepdale in the late 1990s, making 42 appearances at left back.
Gary Peters christened Gary Bennett ‘goals on legs’ when he signed him from Tranmere in 1995. He made his debut and scored in the game at Scarborough mentioned earlier but sadly it didn’t quite work out for the renowned striker at Deepdale. Gary only managed 25 games for North End, but his five goals included two as a substitute as we overcame our Fylde coast neighbours 3-0 at Deepdale the following season.
Gareth Ainsworth, who we faced as Wycombe manager in this season’s FA Cup, made his third North End debut on this date in 2002. He returned to Deepdale on loan from Wimbledon and after two substitute appearances, he scored his final goal for the Lilywhites in a 4-0 demolition of Coventry, which was also notable for Gareth finishing the game with his head swathed in bloodsoaked bandages. No wonder he is so fondly remembered by North End fans!
Last Five Games At Hillsborough
Sheffield Wednesday 2 (Forestieri, Fletcher) Preston North End 1 (Doyle), 3rd December 2016
Sheffield Wednesday 3 (Lee, Pudil, McGugan) Preston North End 1 (Browne), 3rd October 2015
Sheffield Wednesday 2 (Madine, 2) Preston North End 0, 31st March 2012
Sheffield Wednesday 1 (Gray) Preston North End 2 (Mellor, Parkin), 20th October 2009
Sheffield Wednesday 1 (McAllister) Preston North End 1 (Chaplow), 23rd August 2008