Meet the opposition | Preston North End
As Swansea City get set to visit Preston in the Championship, we take a closer look at the form and history of the Lilywhites.
What’s their story?
Preston have firmly established themselves in the second tier since their promotion from League One at the end of the 2014-15 season, and finished 13th in the standings last term.
They are one of few sides who have twice lifted the FA Cup, once in 1889 and again in 1938
They were also the First Division champions during the maiden year of the Football League in 1888-89, and followed that up by retaining the title the following season.
How’s their form?
The Lilywhites lost their first three league fixtures, but have had a better week after following up a Championship victory over Peterborough by advancing to the third round of the Carabao Cup by beating Morecambe in midweek.
They finished the 2020-21 campaign in fine form, losing just one of their last eight games and winning five.
Who’s the boss?
Frank McAvoy. The Scot was initially appointed interim head coach while the search for a full-time successor to Alex Neil got under way towards the end of last season.
But his impressive performance in the role saw him entrusted with the full-time job and he is beginning his first full campaign at the helm.
McAvoy – having spent nearly two decades as a planning manager with Royal Mail - started his coaching career working in the Dunfermline and Hamilton academies, going on to join Neil’s first-team staff with the Academicals.
The pair guided them to promotion to the top-flight, and repeated the feat in England with Norwich before their time at North End.
Who’s the captain?
Alan Browne. The Republic of Ireland international has been a stalwart at Deepdale, and is now in his eighth year with the club having joined from Cork City in 2014.
The midfielder helped Preston return to the Championship via the play-offs in 2015 and has been an integral and influential figure during his time at the club.
Scored his first senior international goal in the Republic’s defeat to Serbia during the March international break earlier this year.
Who are the key men?
Midfielder Daniel Johnson has been a reliable goalscorer over recent seasons, while Preston have former Swan Scott Sinclair and Emil Ris Jakobsen among their attacking options, with the latter having four goals to his name in all competitions this term.
Liverpool youngster Sepp van der Berg has returned for a second loan spell at Deepdale after impressing over the second half of last season, while former Charlton man Patrick Bauer is a staple at the heart of the defence.