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Preston predicted lineup v Middlesbrough tonight: Fisher returns, Harrop under threat

Preston North End are back in action again tonight, as they host Middlesbrough at Deepdale.

Alex Neil’s side drew 2-2 with Wycombe Wanderers on Saturday afternoon, as the home struggles that have plagued North End this season continued.

The packed fixture list gives Preston a chance to have another bash tonight, but a battle against a Neil Warnock side isn’t ideal.

Neil may need to make changes tonight, and here’s our predicted lineup for tonight’s game with that in mind…

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Declan Rudd is arguably the safest name on the teamsheet; barring a late injury or pandemic-related issue, he should start again.

Darnell Fisher is back from suspension, so we’re hoping he is fit to come in at right back whilst Paul Huntington, Ben Davies and Joe Rafferty should make up the rest of the defence.

Ben Pearson is out of action having suffered an ankle injury against Wycombe, so Ryan Ledson needs another partner in midfield, and Alan Browne seems the likely candidate to join him, moving from right back into the engine room.

Daniel Johnson is suspended, so Preston have a decision to make in terms of playing a number 10, especially with Josh Harrop’s position under threat having struggled against Wycombe on Saturday.

We would like to see Tom Bayliss feature, but Brad Potts is more robust than Harrop or Bayliss, so deploying him against Boro could be a smart idea even if he doesn’t quite possess the same guile as Johnson.

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Scott Sinclair and Tom Barkhuizen are both in fine form so should keep their places out wide, with Seani Maguire keeping his place as the central striker.

Ex-Boro man Connor Ripley is likely to be on the bench, alongside the likes of Jordan Storey, Josh Harrop, Tom Bayliss, Emil Riis and Jayden Stockley, whilst Lewis Coulton, Adam O’Reilly and Jacob Holland-Wilkinson will surely be in contention again.

Johnson, Pearson, Patrick Bauer, Andrew Hughes, Josh Earl, Louis Moult and Billy Bodin are set to miss out tonight as Neil works with the bare bones.

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