Preston North End are back on the road this weekend, travelling to take on Nottingham Forest at the City Ground.
The Lilywhites saw off Hull City on penalties in Tuesday’s Carabao Cup tie, and have two Championship wins in a row having beaten both Stoke City and Sheffield Wednesday.
The challenge for Alex Neil is to take that home form on the road. North End have usually been great away but disappointing on the road under Neil. Strangely, that has now reversed so far this season.
The opening day defeat at Millwall was pretty dour, and the 3-2 reverse at Swansea City showcased defensive issues that haven’t really been exposed in other games.
Neil takes his side to the City Ground tomorrow, and will hope for a similar performance to the 1-0 win at Forest. Much like that game, Preston have injury issues to deal with.
Andrew Hughes looks set to miss out again, as does Tom Barkhuizen after a knock against Hull. David Nugent, Tom Clarke and Louis Moult remain long-term absentees.
Neil can at least call on Declan Rudd again in goal, who should remain in the side despite Connor Ripley’s shootout success. Darnell Fisher and Joe Rafferty are likely to return as the full backs having been rested against Hull. Patrick Bauer is allegedly fit to play, and will likely resume his partnership with Ben Davies in the heart of defence.
Ben Pearson and Paul Gallagher should be back in midfield, after both were left out against Hull. Daniel Johnson – in fine form to start the season – is likely to be the number 10 once again as he looks to continue his recent exploits.
With Barkhuizen out, Billy Bodin looks safe as the right winger. On the left, there’s more of a discussion. We’ve gone with Josh Harrop, having scored yet again in midweek, moving Seani Maguire up top. We’d rather have Maguire on the left, but with striking options thin on the ground, the Irishman may be pressed into action there again.
Our best guess at the bench in this situation would be Ripley, Jordan Storey, Brad Potts, Ryan Ledson, Andre Green, Jayden Stockley and Alan Browne. It’s not the most well-rounded bench, but injuries are somewhat limiting our options.
We got in touch with Lee Clarke from Seat Pitch, who told his his predicted Forest line-up: Brice Samba; Matty Cash, Joe Worrall, Michael Dadwson, Jack Robinson; Samba Sow, Ben Watson, Alfa Semedo; Joe Lolley, Lewis Grabban, Albert Adomah. Lee’s in-depth view of the team can be found here.