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Preston predicted XI v Blackburn Rovers tonight: Ben Pearson starts, Earl comes in

Preston North End are back in action tonight, taking on Lancashire rivals Blackburn Rovers at Deepdale.

Alex Neil’s men picked up a first home league win of the season on Saturday afternoon, beating Sheffield Wednesday 1-0 at Deepdale.

That came at a perfect time, as the hoodoo has been broke ahead of a game against a big rival in Blackburn – a team that have never beaten Neil’s Preston.

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In the four meetings with Rovers under Neil, Preston have picked up three wins and one draw, showing great derby day form.

With that in mind, here’s our predicted line up for tonight’s game at Deepdale…

Declan Rudd will almost certainly start in goal barring any late issues, with Connor Ripley having little chance of breaking in right now.

With Ben Davies still out of action, we’ll guess that Patrick Bauer and Paul Huntington continue in the heart of defence, utilising their aerial ability.

Andrew Hughes is out injured whilst Darnell Fisher looks to be suspended, meaning Joe Rafferty could switch to the right side and Josh Earl comes in for a rare start at left back.

Ben Pearson made his return from injury as a substitute on Saturday afternoon, so we’ll back him to join Ryan Ledson in Preston’s engine room.

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Barkhuizen has been the go-to man in derby games over recent years, and his goal on Saturday should nail down his spot on the right.

Daniel Johnson and Scott Sinclair look likely to start too, supporting Emil Riis up top – though after seeing Jayden Stockley dominate against Rovers at Deepdale last year, don’t be surprised if Neil looks to him again.

We would then guess that Ripley, Stockley, Jordan Storey, Paul Gallagher, Tom Bayliss, Brad Potts and Seani Maguire are all on the bench, whilst the lack of full back cover may give Lewis Coulton a shot.

We frankly have no idea if Alan Browne will be allowed to play, so Adam O’Reilly may earn a bench spot once again.

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