Meet the opposition | Preston North End
As Swansea City prepare to host Preston at the Swansea.com Stadium, we take a closer look at North End.
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?
Improving. Preston have lost just one of their last seven league games, winning three of them.
They have drawn nine games so far this term, the joint-most in the division, but a lack of consistency has hurt them over the course of the campaign.
However, they appear to be moving in the right direction under recently-appointed boss Ryan Lowe.
Who’s the boss?
Ryan Lowe. The former Plymouth boss began his managerial career at the now defunct Bury, coaching them in a caretaker capacity from 2017-2018, before earning a permanent role in 2018.
Lowe made the move to Plymouth the following year, taking over a month before they were relegated from the third tier. In his first full season, Lowe gained immediate promotion back to League One in 2019-20, and finished 18th last season.
They had made a strong start to this season before he chose to leave Argyle to take over at Deepdale.
In his playing career, the forward made 626 total league appearances for nine different English clubs, including over 50 appearances for Shrewsbury Town, Bury, Crewe Alexandra and Chester City.
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 last year.
Who are the key men?
Striker Emil Riis Jakobsen has enjoyed a fine campaign for the Lilywhites and has netted 13 goals in all competitions, with one of those coming in the reverse fixture against the Swans back in August.
Midfielder Daniel Johnson has been a talisman for North End over a number of seasons, having joined the club in January 2015, and he remains an influential presence with four goals and three assists to his name.
On-loan defender Sepp van den Berg is another who has been in good form. The Liverpool player has played at full-back and centre-back having spent the closing months of last term on loan at Deepdale, before returning for the full campaign this year. He has been defensively solid while offering plenty going forward.