Meet the opposition: Preston North End
As Swansea City get set for their first home game of the new season this weekend, we take a closer look at opponents Preston North End.
What’s their story?
Preston have been in the Championship since they won the 2014-15 League One play-offs under Simon Grayson.
They finished an impressive seventh last season, missing out on the play-offs by just two points, having ended up 11th in each of the previous two campaigns.
They were twice champions of England in the 19th Century, but are yet to play in the Premier League despite going close on a number of occasions in the Noughties.
They last played in the top tier back in 1961.
How’s their form?
Preston started the new season in ideal fashion, with a win and a clean sheet against Queens Park Rangers at Deepdale. Midfielder Alan Browne scored the only goal of the game last Saturday.
Last season ended well too, with Preston taking 13 points from the last 15 offer as they missed out on the top six on the final day.
They had a strong pre-season, with thumping wins over Bamber Bridge, Fylde, Cobh Ramblers and Oldham as well as a draw with West Ham and a narrow loss to Burnley.
Who’s the boss?
Alex Neil. The former midfielder knows Swans No. 2 Reid very well having played under him for many years at Hamilton Academical.
Neil began his managerial career at Hamilton following Reid’s departure in 2013, taking the reins when aged just 31.
Having won promotion in his first full season and helped Hamilton find their feet in the Scottish Premier League, Neil moved to Norwich in January 2015.
His impact at Carrow Road was impressive, with the Canaries climbing into the Premier League via the play-offs the following May.
After relegation back to the Championship, Neil left Norwich in March 2017 before landing the Preston job last summer.
Who are the key men?
Former England Under-21 keeper Declan Rudd made a brilliant save to secure Preston’s opening-day win having been picked ahead of Welshman Chris Maxwell.
Central defender Tom Clarke is Preston’s captain, but he is a fitness worry ahead of the trip to Wales after coming off with a head injury against QPR.
Irish midfielder Alan Browne, who headed the only goal against Rangers, was a star performer for Preston last season.
Striker Sean Maguire, the club’s top scorer last term, is out for a couple of months with injury, meaning Louis Moult – a January signing from Motherwell – led the line against QPR.
Former Morecambe forward Tom Barkhuizen is another goal threat, along with Callum Robinson.
Tickets for our home opener against Preston North End are available – get yours HERE or call the ticket office on 01792 616400. Watch the game in style in our 1912 Heritage lounge – contact our dedicated hospitality team on 01792 616628 or on email@example.com.
The Preston game will be available on SwansTV Live to all our international fans on Saturday*.
*Please note that due to EFL broadcasting rules, you will not be able to live stream Saturday’s fixture against Preston in the UK, Ireland, Channel Islands, Guernsey or Jersey.