For the second time this calendar year, taking charge of North End as referee on Wednesday night is experienced official Keith Stroud.
His first game was the 1-1 draw with Swansea City back in January, his first game at Deepdale for a number of years.
Last season, the Hampshire official took charge of two PNE games, both away from Deepdale, the first at Birmingham City back in September 2017, when goals from Tom Barkhuizen, Daniel Johnson and Jordan Hugill saw the side come from behind at the break to end Harry Redknapp’s tenure at St Andrews and the second, the win at Burton Albion in December the same year.
In 2016/17 his only game with the whistle for a PNE game was our loss at Brentford, whilst the previous season he also took charge of another game at Birmingham, as North End came from 2-0 down against what was then Gary Rowett’s men, with goals from Alan Browne and Greg Cunningham earning the Lilywhites a point.
That was his second North End game in two months after he took charge of the Lilywhites' home win over Sheffield Wednesday in February 2015, as well as PNE's last clash with a steel city side at Deepdale, 2014/15's FA Cup tie with Sheffield United. The win over the Owls was his last visit to Deepdale prior to January.
The official also refereed the Lilywhites Play-Off clash with Rotherham United in May 2014 as well as the previous season’s 3-2 home win over Ipswich Town, when Joe Garner scored a second half hat-trick as a substitute to knock the Tractor Boys out of the FA Cup at the fourth round stage.
His two previous league trips to Deepdale prior to that also saw wins, the famous 6-0 triumph over Cardiff City, which led to the Play-Offs in 2009 and a 2-1 win over West Brom the previous year, when the Lilywhites ended the game with nine men after the dismissal of both Youl Mawene and Chris Brown.
On Wednesday, up on Teeside, Keith will be assisted by Nick Greenhalgh and James Mainwaring, with fellow select group two referee Rob Jones acting as the fourth official. It will be Keith’s 22nd game of the season, having so far issued 72 cautions and two red cards, his last game being Brentford’s 3-0 win over QPR on 2nd March.
It is his second trip to the Riverside this season, having officiated their 1-1 home draw with Millwall back in January, the week after he had been to Deepdale for the Swans draw.