Preston finished 13th in the Championship last season and Lee Hendrie is backing North End to be a dark horse next term.

The first half of the campaign was largely disappointing as Frankie McAvoy couldn’t quite get the best out of the squad.

In came Ryan Lowe in December and he lost just six times in 30 games as North End boss.

Preston were far from the finished article under Lowe but showed signs of promise ahead of a huge transfer window.

Freddie Woodman is Preston’s only signing right now but more are expected – and Lee Hendrie has real hope for North End.

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Hendrie has offered his Championship predictions to Sky Sports with the fixture list now out for the 2022-23 season.

The former Aston Villa ace is unsurprisingly backing Watford and Norwich City for promotion alongside Burnley.

All three clubs have just suffered relegation from the Premier League and pundit Hendrie is predicting an immediate return for the trio.

Hendrie also offered his ‘ones to watch’ for the season, picking out three dark horses to be into the top half and pushing for the playoffs.

Hendrie suggested that Sunderland, Stoke City and Preston will be the teams to watch out for in the new season.

Preston North End v Blackpool - Sky Bet Championship
Photo by Alex Dodd – CameraSport via Getty Images

There was no real analysis offered about Preston’s situation in the clip posted by Sky Sports, but there is clearly something Hendrie likes about North End.

Some key pieces are in place; Emil Riis, Ben Whiteman, Alan Browne, Daniel Johnson and new signing Woodman are all quality Championship performers.

Yet the current reality is that Preston only have one new signing through the door.

Wing backs are needed on both sides whilst outstanding loanees Sepp van den Berg and Cameron Archer must be replaced.

More goals are certainly needed in the final third and until Preston back up encouraging noises with concrete signings, a top 10 finish may be a pipe dream.

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