Preston North End welcome fan favourite Gareth Ainsworth and his Wycombe Wanderers side to Deepdale for the next test in the SkyBet Championship.
The Chairboys manager and the PNE faithful are probably equally as disappointed this one can’t be in front of the fans, who would no doubt have given him a great welcome on his return to PR1… at least until kick-off.
However, the Lilywhites and those watching at home on iFollow PNE will be looking for their side to pick up another positive result after Tuesday night’s latest away win, with an impressive team display against AFC Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium.
Wycombe make their first trip to Deepdale since January 2012 – a game you can read more about in our match to remember, with a link at the bottom of the page – with just two FA Cup ties played in between and for the third time in six years we will again head to Adams Park in the third round, in early January.
Competition: EFL Sky Bet Championship (16/46)
Date: Saturday 5th December, kick-off 3pm
Kit: 2020/21 home kit – click here to buy it now!
Head To Head: PNE wins – 9; Draws – 4; Wycombe Wanderers - 2
Manager Alex Neil will be without Patrick Bauer, who will undergo an operation on his ruptured Achilles on Monday and whose season will now be over.
Fellow defender Darnell Fisher will serve the last of his three-match ban, joining the other full backs Andrew Hughes and Josh Earl on the sidelines.
Josh Harrop returned from injury for the midweek squad, but Paul Gallagher was still out, as are Louis Moult and Billy Bodin, who continue to rehab after knee operations.
Gareth Ainsworth was without Curtis Thompson and Dominic Gape for Wednesday’s clash with Stoke City.
Thompson was forced off injured after 17 minutes against Derby the previous weekend, while Gape missed that match after he came off with a knock against Huddersfield Town.
Jason McCarthy will also need to be checked, after he came off injured against the Potters, after what his manager described as a ‘WWF-style’ challenge.
Taking charge of his Saturday’s game is Isle of Wight match official James Linington.
The referee took charge of just one PNE game last season, the 1-1 draw at Blackburn Rovers, as well as two PNE games the year before, our August trip to Swansea City and the final game of the season away at Brentford.
He was also the man in charge of the game for our game with Cardiff City in December 2017, when Tom Clarke scored a late winner. James took charge of three PNE games that season in all, the trio all away from home, with the games being the 2-1 win at Hull City back in September, the aforementioned game at the Cardiff City Stadium and the 1-0 win at Sheffield United in our final away game of last season.
Four seasons ago, the referee made his first visit ever to Deepdale for the clash with Wolves back in November and was then the referee in the away game at Derby County back in March.
The season before he was referee of the PNE game at Ashton Gate, when Greg Cunningham scored the winner against his former club and that was his third game in charge of PNE. The other time he refereed North End was another game in the south of England, when the Lilywhites won 1-0 at Gillingham in the League One promotion season, courtesy of Paul Huntington’s goal in his first start of the season.
So far this season he has officiated just six games, issuing eight yellow cards and no reds and he will be assisted by Nik Barnard and Steven Meredith, with Simon Mather acting as the fourth official.
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 skipper Paul McKenna are on commentary duties, with replays, graphics and coverage from the Deepdale from 2.45pm on Saturday afternoon.
Alex Neil Hoping For Continuity: Preston North End manager Alex Neil is hoping that Tuesday’s excellent performance and win over AFC Bournemouth is something his side can build on. Click here for the full interview.
A Match To Remember: For our look back to a previous encounter against the Chairboys, we have gone back to the day Graham Westley was appointed Preston North End manager. Click here for the details.
Joe Rafferty On A ‘World’s Apart’ Week: Preston North End full back Joe Rafferty has admitted that his demeanour from Tuesday to Tuesday this week was in stark contrast. Click here for Raff’s thoughts.
The One And Only Issue Eight: The latest edition of the club’s matchday programme previews the visit of Wycombe Wanderers with centre half Jordan Storey. Click here for more information.