Rejoice, the international break is over, and Preston can get back to pursuing a play-off place.
Before the break, North End beat Birmingham City 1-0 at Deepdale to move seventh in the Championship. Seani Maguire’s last-gasp goal took Preston level on points with the play-off places, and only out on goal difference.
That two week break has given Preston time to get some players back fit and firing, giving Alex Neil some tough decisions. Tomorrow, North End take on Reading at the Madejski Stadium in what should be a tough clash.
Reading are fighting for their lives, and have lost just one of their last six home league games. Preston may have won six in a row on the road, but this is a real banana skin.
With that in mind, here’s our predicted line-up for tomorrow’s trip to Berkshire…
Whilst Connor Ripley is coming back to fitness, that’s no threat to Declan Rudd, who will start in goal barring a late shock. Darnell Fisher, Jordan Storey and Ben Davies will surely start, but there are question marks at left back. Andrew Hughes picked up an injury against Birmingham, and Josh Earl may have to deputise for the Welshman.
Ben Pearson will anchor the midfield, but Alan Browne is set to miss out again. That should give Daniel Johnson and Brad Potts the roles ahead of Pearson, with Paul Gallagher providing ammunition on the right.
Lukas Nmecha could start on the left, but there will be a real temptation to start Callum Robinson. The forward returned from a four month lay-off against Birmingham, and will certainly push for a start.
In attack, Seani Maguire will most likely get the nod, having not played too much during his time away with Ireland. That would involve Jayden Stockley being benched, which may be a little harsh.
Ripley could be on the bench, but Michael Crowe is likely to be the backup goalkeeper. Tom Clarke, Joe Rafferty, Ryan Ledson, Brandon Barker, Nmecha and Stockley will be vying for spots on the bench, though Louis Moult is in contention too.