A trip to Kenilworth Road was the Lilywhites’ very first game back after the Spring lockdown, as football returned back in June and it is therefore perhaps fitting that it is the first ground we visit with 2,000 spectators under the new tiered system, this time around.
Alex Neil’s side played in front of 1,000 fans at Norwich City back in September, but this will be the biggest crowd they have faced since March, which should add a different and more real element back to the game.
The Hatters have had a good start to the season. The aforementioned game in June was Nathan Jones’ first back as manager at the Bedfordshire club and he has done a good job in making them a force again in 2020/21.
The Lilywhites are in good form ahead of the game, however, and will look to continue their excellent away form. Both managers took the chance to make the trip to see their opposition in midweek and both will be going for the win come 3pm on Saturday afternoon.
Competition: EFL Sky Bet Championship (18/46)
Date: Saturday 12th December, kick-off 3pm
Venue: Kenilworth Road
Kit: 2020/21 third ‘green’ kit – click here to buy it now!
Head To Head: PNE wins – 25; Draws – 10; Luton Town - 11
Alex Neil had Andrew Hughes and Josh Earl back from injury for Wednesday night’s win over Middlesbrough at Deepdale, going from famine to feat in terms of full back availability in the face of a week!
He always welcomes back Daniel Johnson after suspension for the trip south, but is still without Patrick Bauer (Achilles), Ben Pearson (ankle), Louis Moult and Billy Bodin (both knee) and Paul Gallagher (hamstring).
Nathan Jones has defender Matty Pearson back available after serving a one-match ban following his red card at Swansea City, plus fellow defender James Bree, who sat out Tuesday’s game against Coventry City due to a groin issue, should also be fine to return.
Goalkeeper Simon Sluga, on loan Sheffield United man Rhys Norrington-Davies and Martin Cranie, who were also absent from the matchday squad in midweek continue their recoveries.
Taking charge of Saturday’s match official is Jeremy Simpson, making his second trip to Kenilworth Road this season, having officiated their 2-0 home defeat to Stoke City back in September.
Jeremy was the man in the middle for PNE’s trip to Barnsley late in the first month of this year, having also been the official at Cardiff City just before last Christmas and our penultimate home game of 2019/20, against Nottingham Forest in July.
This will be his tenth match of the season, having so far issued a total of 28 cautions and three red cards. He will be assisted by Lee Venamore and Richard Wild, while the fourth official will be Sunny Gill.
Mick Harford told lutontown.co.uk after Tuesday’s goalless draw at Coventry City: “Preston was Nathan’s [Jones] first game back when he came back to the football club.
“They were a tough ask, Callum McManaman got a late goal and they played well on that day, we got a draw out of it.
“Good club, good team, good players, a real tough opposition we have been able to look at, myself and Nathan [both attending the Boro game on Wednesday), so it’s another tough game in the Championship as always.”
North End fans can watch Saturday’s game live on iFollow PNE, with purchases of a £10 match pass available now.
Jonathan Breeze and former North End full back Paul Sparrow will be on commentary duties, with replays, graphics and coverage from Kenilworth Road from approximately 2.30pm on Saturday afternoon.
Alex Neil Says Luton Different Side To Last Match: Preston North End travelled to Kenilworth Road on the first game back after the first lockdown in late June, but manager Alex Neil says they will face a different side this weekend. Click here for the full interview.
A Match To Remember: We go back 21 years for our latest reflection on games gone by, as David Eyres grabbed a brace to defeat the Hatters at Kenilworth Road. Click here for the details.
Scott Sinclair Looking For Consistency: Preston North End’s current top scorer, Scott Sinclair, is hoping the recent good run of form can be extended in to a more consistent winning run. Click here for Scott’s thoughts.
A Foot In Both Camps: As we look ahead to Saturday’s trip to Kenilworth Road, there was only one former player of both clubs to speak to, to preview the game. Click here for the interview.