Preston return to action on Saturday afternoon, taking on Bristol City in a crucial game for both sides.
North End head into the game after a 3-1 win at Millwall last weekend, and are now unbeaten in eight games. A win over the Robins could close the gap to the play-off to just three points; a situation few could have predicted on January 1st.
Alex Neil will be looking for his side to continue this fine recent form, but two ex-North End star will be hoping to burst the bubble.
Defender Bailey Wright and midfielder Josh Brownhill should feature in the Bristol City side on Saturday. Wright would likely play at right back in place of Eros Pisano, whilst Brownhill looks set to face old Preston pal Alan Browne in midfield.
The pair have yet to taste victory over Preston since leaving for the Robins, and they could really do with this to be the first. After seven league wins in a row, City have lost their last two. A defeat at Deepdale would really pile the pressure on Lee Johnson’s side in that final play-off spot.
North End will be hoping to beat the duo again, but their return to Deepdale is tinged with a hint of regret, even though they’ll both probably be subjected to some mocking chants this weekend.
Debuts and departures
Both players came up through the North End youth setup, making first-team impressions at young ages. Wright, landed from VIS in Australia, made his debut at 18 in in 2013. Just over three years later, Brownhill debuted and scored at Gillingham in 2013, aged 17.
North End haven’t exactly created a conveyor belt of talent from the youth setup, but Wright and Brownhill were shining lights. Fans hoped that the duo would become fixtures of the side for years to come. Sadly, they’ve become key players for a Championship rival.
Wright is City captain, whilst Brownhill attracted Premier League interest in January according to TeamTALK. Their exits sting because they would surely have been just what Alex Neil likes, and Preston didn’t receive true value for either player.
Wright was sold inside the final six months of his contract to avoid losing him for free. Meanwhile, Brownhill simply walked out when his contract came to an end, having stalled under Simon Grayson. One could only wonder what Neil could have done with a talent playmaker like Brownhill.
It’s of great regret that North End lost the duo when they could have been Deepdale heroes. Let’s just hope that their latest trip back ends in another defeat.