Since our December victory over AFC Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium there have been changes at both clubs.
For the Cherries, it has been a change of manager, with Jonathan Woodgate replacing Jason Tindall in the top job. Whilst for the Lilywhites it has been a turnover of players, with only Scott Sinclair starting the game at Millwall on Tuesday night who started – and scored – in the win at Bournemouth!
One of those changes, of course, saw Ben Pearson move from PNE down to the south coast club and he is set for his first return this weekend, having become a regular in the heart of Woodgate’s midfield in recent games.
The weekend’s visitors have not played a league game at Deepdale since February 2013, the first game after Graham Westley departed the club; John Dreyer leading the Lilywhites to a 2-0 win thanks to goals from Stuart Beavon and Bailey Wright. The current team will be looking for more of the same this weekend.
Competition: EFL Sky Bet Championship (35/46)
Date: Saturday 6th March, kick-off 3pm
Kit: 2020/21 home kit – click here to buy it now!
Head To Head: PNE wins – 11; Draws – 6; AFC Bournemouth - 12
Manager Alex Neil was without players for Tuesday’s trip to Millwall, skipper Alan Browne the latest addition to an extensive injury list.
He will hope to have some of those back and available for Saturday’s visit of the Cherries, with only Declan Rudd, Patrick Bauer and Louis Moult long-term absent from the squad.
Forward Sam Surridge is Jonathan Woodgate’s only injury concern, the young striker having a swollen toe that kept him out of Wednesday night’s win over Bristol City.
Australian referee Jarred Gillett – who was the fourth official at Deepdale last week - will take charge of his fourth Preston North End game for Saturday’s match.
The Aussie joined the EFL lists in 2018/19, after taking up an educational position in Liverpool, but he has been a top-class official in his home country’s A League for many years.
He took charge of his first Championship game at the end of that season and joined the Select Group Two list in 2019/20. This season he has officiated 22 games, issuing 73 yellow and two red cards – three of those games have involved Bournemouth, with two wins at St Andrews against Coventry and Birmingham and a defeat at Brentford. Whilst he also refereed our game at Watford in November.
His first trip to Deepdale was over the last Christmas period when he took charge of our last game of 2019, against Reading, as well as the club’s 5,000th league game against Derby County back in July.
Jarred will be assisted by Philip Dermott and Nik Barnard, with experienced Championship official Jeremy Simpson acting as the fourth official.
North End fans around the world can watch Saturday’s game live on iFollow PNE, with purchases of a £10 match pass available now.
Jonathan Breeze and former North End defender Michael Jackson are on commentary duties, with replays, graphics and coverage from Deepdale from approximately 2.30pm on Saturday afternoon.
Alex Neil: “The Challenge Is Very Different” - Preston North End manager Alex Neil believes the contrast between Saturday’s visitors AFC Bournemouth and Tuesday’s trip to Millwall is a prime example of the dichotomy of the Championship. Click here for the full interview.
A Match To Remember: Back in February 2013 the Cherries last visited Deepdale for a league encounter and it was a big day at Deepdale, as John Dreyer made the perfect start to his time as the Lilywhites’ caretaker manager as they beat leaders Bournemouth to earn their first win in eight matches. Click here for the details.
Ben Whiteman On Cherries Challenge: Preston North End midfielder Ben Whiteman is looking forward to testing himself against AFC Bournemouth this weekend. Click here for Ben’s thoughts.
The One And Only Issue 18: This weekend’s 18th match programme of the season sees recent returnee Greg Cunningham on the cover of the 84-page edition, on sale now. Click here for more information and to order your copy.