Preston return to Deepdale on Saturday afternoon, hosting Birmingham City after two more away wins.

North End grabbed victories over Blackburn Rovers and Middlesbrough on the road over the last week, strengthening the charge for the play-offs.

With six away wins in a row, North End are excelling away from Deepdale, but must find answers at home. In this 11 game unbeaten run, North End have won just one home game, drawing the other four.

A problem against Nottingham Forest was fatigue, with Alex Neil sticking by the players that beat Norwich City. Unfortunately, North End lacked sharpness and could only muster a 0-0 draw.

Neil may have learned his lesson now, with some changes potentially required this weekend. Here’s our predicted line-up against Birmingham City…
Declan Rudd will keep his place in goal, with Jordan Storey and Ben Davies as the two centre backs in front of him. Darnell Fisher should return from suspension at right back, with Andrew Hughes over on the left side.

Ben Pearson will take his holding role in the 4-1-4-1 system, but it may be time to rest Paul Gallagher. The veteran has played an incredible amount of football lately, but Neil raised injury and fitness concerns about him after beating Middlesbrough. With a two-week break coming after this game, Neil may risk him one more time, but don’t be surprised if he’s rested.

Brad Potts should be back and ready to play, potentially joining Daniel Johnson in midfield if Gallagher is rested. Alan Browne won’t be fit, presenting the chance for Potts’ return. Lukas Nmecha is likely to keep his place on the right, with Tom Barkhuizen not fully fit.

Preston North End manager Alex Neil. (Photo by Mark Fletcher/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Winger Brandon Barker produced a fine 45-minute display at Boro, and has now pushed for a start on the left, bringing more pace and energy to the side. Despite Jayden Stockley’s winner in midweek, Seani Maguire should keep his place up top.

Barkhuizen, Callum Robinson, Louis Moult and Tom Clarke are all in contention after injuries, giving Neil an embarrassment of riches.

Predicting a bench is difficult, but we’ll go with Michael Crowe, Clarke, Joe Rafferty, Ryan Ledson, Gallagher, Barkhuizen and Jayden Stockley – but it would be great to see Robinson return.

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