The relentless Championship continues on Tuesday night with North End’s last away game before Christmas, when they head across the Pennines to face Valérien Ismaël’s Barnsley at Oakwell.
Both sides had contrasting weekends, with our midweek hosts in south Yorkshire picking up a derby day victory over Sheffield Wednesday at the weekend.
Since the change of manager, the Reds have been in good form and currently sit 11th in the table, second only to table-toppers Norwich City in the form table, their only recent blemish being against AFC Bournemouth live on Sky a week last Friday.
The Lilywhites had two positive results against Barnsley in 2019/20, but they will count for nothing come Tuesday night, in another behind closed doors encounter, Barnsley – like Preston – being in a Tier three area.
Competition: EFL Sky Bet Championship (19/46)
Date: Tuesday 15th December, kick-off 7.45pm
Venue: Oakwell Stadium
Kit: 2020/21 third ‘green’ kit – click here to buy it now!
Head To Head: PNE wins – 24; Draws – 15; Barnsley – 19
Manager Alex Neil lost Brad Potts at the weekend through a calf issue and the former Barnsley man will need a late check before Tuesday’s game at Oakwell.
Already definitely ruled out are Louis Moult and Billy Bodin (both knee), Ben Pearson (ankle) and Patrick Bauer (Achilles).
Valérien Ismaël will have to make a change to his back line, as Aapo Halme picked up a toe injury in Saturday’s derby win over Sheffield Wednesday, ruling him out for up to four weeks. It's a toe injury. That’s a big blow for us and for him.
For the Reds Jordan Williams also isn’t ready yet, although he is set to return to training this week.
Tuesday’s game sees Dean Whitestone appointed as match official, his second PNE game this season, having taken charge of the 4-2 away win at Brentford back in October.
He refereed four North End games last season, including the home game with QPR - the last before lockdown in March and our home win over Charlton Athletic in late January.
The Northamptonshire official has refereed PNE games on 14 previous occasions, the first of which was at Bramall Lane back in October 2008.
He has officiated 11 games so far this campaign, issuing 15 cautions and no red cards – including Barnsley’s 3-0 defeat at Cardiff City earlier in the campaign.
Two of the stand-out PNE games he has been in charge of, were a previous 3-0 victory at Barnsley in August 2009, and a 3-1 triumph on the road at Doncaster in October 2012.
The rest of Tuesday's official will be made up of assistant referees Rob Merchant and Mark Dwyer, whilst the fourth official will be Tom Nield.
Speaking to his official website barnsleyfc.co.uk Valérien Ismaël said: “Last season our results and performances against Preston were not good enough. It’s time to change more history. We need that ruthless nature again.
“Against Bournemouth we struggled with fatigue. We need to learn from that. When we get chances on Tuesday night, we need to be clinical and punish the opponent.
“Preston will be difficult, we expect a strong side, but we have prepared well and we have good momentum that we wish to continue, to keep up our good work.”
North End fans can watch Tuesday’s game live on iFollow PNE, with purchases of a £10 match pass available now.
Guy Clarke and former PNE man Brett Ormerod will be on commentary duties, with replays, graphics and coverage from Oakwell from approximately 7.15pm on Tuesday evening.
Alex Neil On A Return To Oakwell: Preston North End manager Alex Neil takes his side to a club he played for when the Lilywhites travel to Oakwell on Tuesday night. Click here for the full interview.
A Match To Remember: We go back almost 20 years, to Easter Monday 2001 to a memorable away win at Oakwell as David Moyes’ North End continued their march to the Play-Offs. Click here for the details.
Emil Riis Looking For Good Run: With inconsistency the buzz word throughout the Championship, Danish striker Emil Riis is looking for a good run from the Lilywhites to lift them up the table. Click here for Emil’s thoughts.
A Foot In Both Camps: Ahead of Tuesday night’s trip to Oakwell, we caught up with a popular former PNE captain, who joined the Lilywhites from Barnsley. Click here for the interview.