It may only be four weeks since we faced Bristol City in an EFL Championship encounter, but it’s been a busy period since for both teams.
Dean Holden’s Robins go into the game on the back of an FA Cup success at home to Portsmouth on Sunday, but their rescheduled clash with Brentford on Wednesday night was called off for a second time due to Covid in the Bees camp.
North End, meanwhile, have also had a week without an evening game, giving them time to get the new faces acclimatised, with Ched Evans and Daniel Iversen both available for selection, along with midweek recruit Ben Whiteman.
Manager Alex Neil will have his staff back alongside him too, after a number of them isolating when they travelled to Adam Park in the Cup last weekend, but subsequently testing negative for Covid.
Competition: EFL Sky Bet Championship (24/46)
Date: Saturday 16th January, kick-off 3pm
Venue: Ashton Gate Stadium
Kit: 2020/21 blue ‘away’ kit – click here to buy it now!
Head To Head: PNE wins – 34; Draws – 32; Bristol City wins - 26
Manager Alex Neil will be able to call upon Ched Evans, who was cup tied for last week’s trip to Wycombe and he will also have Daniel Iversen available; the Danish international not involved at Adams Park, having only had one session with the squad.
Ben Whiteman will also be available after completing his permanent transfer from Doncaster Rovers on Wednesday and receiving clearance from the EFL and FA to allow him to join up with his new team-mates.
Daniel Johnson, Ben Davies and Ben Pearson will all be assessed, but Tom Barkhuizen is back after missing the third round tie due to isolating, after a close contact tested positive for Covid-19.
Declan Rudd underwent surgery earlier this week and he joins fellow long-term absentees, Patrick Bauer (Achilles), Billy Bodin (knee) and Louis Moult (ACL) on the sidelines.
For Dean Holden, he welcomed Alfie Mawson back last weekend, but is without Jamie Paterson, Liam Walsh and Joe Williams at present.
No midweek game may allow the Robins to also have back Nathan Baker, plus Kasey Palmer – who was back off loan with Swansea City should be clear after testing positive for Covid-19, whilst defender Jack Hunt may also return.
Saturday’s game sees Dean Whitestone appointed as match official, his third PNE game this season – all away from home - having taken charge of the 4-2 away win at Brentford back in October and December’s trip to Barnsley.
He refereed four North End games in 2019/20, including the home game with QPR and our home win over Charlton Athletic in late January.
The Northamptonshire official has refereed PNE games on 15 previous occasions, the first of which was at Bramall Lane back in October 2008.
He has officiated 16 games so far this campaign, issuing 23 cautions and no red cards – including Bristol City’s goalless draw with Watford back in November.
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 Adam Crysell and Mark Pottage, whilst the fourth official will be Martin Woods.
North End fans can watch Saturday’s game live on iFollow PNE, with purchases of a £10 match pass available now.
Guy Clarke and former PNE and Robins man Rob Edwards will be on commentary duties, with replays, graphics and coverage from the Ashton Gate Stadium from approximately 2.30pm on Saturday afternoon.
Alex Neil: “There Is More To Come From Us”: As the second half of the season gets underway, Preston North End manager Alex Neil says that he is relatively pleased with the position the team find themselves in, all things considered. Click here for the full interview.
A Match To Remember: For our look back to a previous encounter with our next opponent, we go back five years to the same week in January 2016, when a former player came back to haunt the Robins on a cold night at Ashton Gate. Click here for the details.
Tom Barkhuizen – Back And Focused On Bristol: Preston North End forward Tom Barkhuizen had to spend ten days in isolation last week, after a close contact tested positive for Covid-19. Click here for Tom’s thoughts.
A Foot In Both Camps: This weekend’s iFollow PNE commentary team will include a player who represented both clubs with distinction, in former Welsh international Rob Edwards. Click here for the interview.