Meet the opposition | Preston North End

31st October 2022
First team
Preston North End

As Swansea City prepare to visit Deepdale to take on Preston North End on Tuesday (745pm), we look at the history, form and the key figures for the Lilywhites. 

What's their story? 

Preston North End squad

Founded in 1880 Preston were among the founder members of the Football League and won the first two top-flight titles in 1889 and 1890. North End are also two-time FA Cup winners with the first of those completing a double in the maiden EFL season.

That spell proved to be a golden era for the Lilywhites and it is success they have not found easy to replicate during their long history.

The Deepdale club have spent large parts of the post-Millennium period in the second tier of the Football League but have never played in the Premier League since it’s formation. 

The closest the club came to promotion was in 2001 and 2005, when they suffered play-off final defeats to Bolton Wanderers and West Ham United respectively.

How's their form? 

Preston North End

Mixed. Preston are the team with the best defensive record in the Championship having conceded the fewest goals while racking up 10 clean sheets.

But goals have also not proved easy to come by at the other end. Indeed after 10 league games they had scored just three goals and only conceded four.

There have been three wins and three losses in the last six games, including an impressive 3-2 win at Carrow Road against promotion chasing Norwich City.

Defeats to neighbours Blackpool and Stoke City were frustrating, but they bounced back at the weekend by coming from behind to beat Middlesbrough at Deepdale;

Who’s the Gaffer? 

Ryan Lowe

Ryan Lowe. The former Plymouth boss began his managerial career at Bury, coaching them in a caretaker capacity during the 2017-2018 season, before earning the 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, finished the following campaign in mid-table.

After agreeing to depart Home Park, Lowe has been at Deepdale since December 2021, replacing Frankie McAvoy in the hotseat, and guiding the Lilywhites to a 13th place finish in the Championship table in his first season at the club. 

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? 

Republic of Ireland international Alan Browne in the captain at Deepdale. A club veteran, the former Cork City midfielder has amassed over 300 appearances for the Lancashire club in his nine years with them, also chipping in with 37 goals in the process. 

The tough-tackling midfielder played a large part in helping 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.  

Browne has also played at every level for his country of birth, making 25 caps since his international debut in a 1-0 2018 friendly defeat against Turkey in Antalya. 

Who are the key men? 

Freddie Woodman

Recent weeks have seen last season's 17-goal top scorer Emil Riis Jakobsen hit his stride again in front of goal.

The Dane now has four goals in his last seven outings and - while he stands at 6ft 3in - he offers a threat on a number of levels as show by his finishes in recent wins over Middlesbrough and Norwich.

The former Danish League club Randers striker is a hand full aerially at six foot three, but equally adapt on the floor scoring winners in recent fixtures against Middlesbrough and Norwich City. Jakobsen also netted the second in the Lilywhites 3-1 victory against the Swans at Deepdale last season. 

There is a familiar figure to Swans fans in the Preston goal in the form of Freddie Woodman, who spent two successful seasons on loan in SA1 between 2019 and 2021 as the Swans narrowly missed out on a return to the Premier League via the Championship play-offs.

The former Newcastle shot stopper is the number one for Lowe’s men after last season's player of the year Dane Daniel Iverson returned to parent club Leicester City. A key part of the most frugal defence in the league, Woodman has been in fine form collecting a Championship-high 10 clean sheets this campaign.  

Ahead of Woodman a large part of Preston’s watertight defence has been down to the performances of centre-half Jordan Storey.

A product of Exeter City’s youth academy, Storey is a strong reader of the game and has a league high pass interception ratio when it comes to breaking up opposition attacks.

After spending the latter part of the previous campaign on loan at Sheffield Wednesday, the 25-year-old has come back into Lowe’s team this season to form a strong partnership with imposing Scot Liam Lindsay.