Preston North End starting XI: Rudd; Rafferty, Bauer, Storey, Hughes; Ledson, Gallagher; Potts, Johnson, Harrop; Stockley.
Preston North End substitutes: Hudson, Fisher, Huntington, Browne, Barkhuizen, Bodin, Sinclair, Maguire, Nugent.
Alex Neil goes with Declan Rudd in goal as usual, whilst it’s a return of the back four today having played 3-5-2 away at Brentford in midweek.
Joe Rafferty returns to his right back role with Andrew Hughes on the left, whilst Patrick Bauer and Jordan Storey will feature in the heart of the back line.
Paul Gallagher comes into the side to join Ryan Ledson in midfield, with Daniel Johnson as the number 10. Brad Potts starts on the right flank, with Josh Harrop in on the left.
Jayden Stockley leads the line up top, meaning Tom Barkhuizen and Seani Maguire are both dropped to the bench following Wednesday’s defeat at Brentford.
Ben Pearson and Ben Davies miss out again, with Mat Hudson, Darnell Fisher, Paul Huntington, Alan Browne, Billy Bodin, Scott Sinclair and David Nugent joining Barkhuizen and Maguire on the bench.
This looks to be a return of Neil’s preferred 4-2-3-1 system, but it’s a surprise to see such a lack of pace in the side. There’s no Barkhuizen, no Sinclair and no Maguire, with Potts and Harrop utilised out wide.
Gallagher comes in to provide some composure next to the all-action Ledson, with the onus on Potts, Johnson and Harrop to support Jayden Stockley up top.
With five attackers on the bench, Preston can at least change the game if they need to, against a Birmingham side who are struggling in the lower reaches of the Championship.
Given that Davies out, Preston need a homegrown player in the squad, so Hudson is on the bench instead of Connor Ripley. There is still no Tom Bayliss though, despite North End seemingly having nothing to play for right now.