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Preston North End predicted XI tonight: Johnson returns, Riis on the bench again

Preston North End are back in action this evening, travelling to Loftus Road to take on Queens Park Rangers after Sunday’s 1-0 defeat to Cardiff City.

Alex Neil’s men are goalless, winless and pointless at home this season after three successive 1-0 defeats, but four points from six on the road against Norwich City and Brentford is impressive.

Neil may make changes for this midweek game ahead of a trip to Huddersfield Town this weekend, so let’s try and predict his line-up tonight.

In goal and back four

We’re not expecting anything wild between the sticks; Declan Rudd will almost certainly keep his spot in goal, with Connor Ripley making the trip as his backup.

With Darnell Fisher out of action at right back, Joe Rafferty will likely start there again despite concerns over his attacking thrust, whilst Josh Earl’s absence means Andrew Hughes should start again on the left.

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Ben Davies should start as the left-sided centre back, and whilst Patrick Bauer has been patchy of late, we expect him to keep his place to try and deal with Lyndon Dykes.

Midfield

Ben Pearson is virtually undroppable in holding midfield, and Ryan Ledson is approaching that territory too after a superb start to the campaign, so we’re backing the duo to continue their partnerhsip.

Daniel Johnson was back on the bench against Cardiff, and we’re back him to replace Alan Browne as the number 10 in search of additional creativity.

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Tom Barkhuizen came back from suspension, so he should come back in for Brad Potts on the right side, with Scott Sinclair on the left.

In attack

Fans may be hoping for new signing Emil Riis to start after a promising cameo against Cardiff, but Neil has made it clear that the Dane has barely worked with Preston yet, so a start here would be a surprise.

That would leave Seani Maguire as the favourite to lead the line again, rather than go with Jayden Stockley at the top of the pitch.

On the bench

Ripley, Browne, Potts, Riis and Stockley should all be on the bench, leaving just two spots to fill; we would expect them to go to Jordan Storey and Paul Gallagher.

Still, we would love to see Josh Harrop in the squad for the game, but with no Championship playing time this season, we’re not really expecting him to suddenly come in.

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