Meet the opposition | Preston North End

18th April 2023
First team
Preston North End

As Swansea City prepare to take on Preston North End in midweek, we take a closer look at the Lilywhites.

What’s their story?

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? 

Ben Whiteman Preston

Strong. Preston have lost just two of their last 12 Championship games, putting together a run that has them on the brink of a play-off spot with just a handful of fixtures remaining.

They have won six of those games, including a run of three in a row against Blackpool, QPR and Reading.

Their away form has been particularly impressive, with North End having the fourth-best record in the division on their travels, picking up 35 points from 20 games.

Who’s the gaffer?

Ryan Lowe Preston

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 350 appearances for the Lancashire club in his nine years with them, also chipping in with 42 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, winning 29 caps since his international debut in a 1-0 2018 friendly defeat against Turkey in Antalya. 

Who are the key men? 

Tom Cannon Preston

On-loan Everton striker Tom Cannon has made a big impression since joining Preston on loan in January.

The 20-year-old has been on the books with the Toffees since the age of 10, and made his senior debut for the Toffees in a Carabao Cup defeat at Bournemouth earlier this season, followed by a Premier League bow against the same opposition a few days later.

He has racked up seven goals in 16 Championship games for Preston, with those goals coming in a flurry during his last nine appearances.

His goals have played a big part in putting Preston right in the play-off hunt at the business end of the campaign.

Midfielder Ben Whiteman has proved an impressive acquisition since his arrival from Doncaster in January of 2021.

The former Manchester United and Sheffield United trainee made his senior bow for the Blades in 2014, and had loan spells with Mansfield and Doncaster before making his move to the latter permanent in the summer of 2018.

He wasted little time making a big impact at the Eco-Power Stadium, and he was named club captain at the age of just 23 such was his form and professionalism.

His showings put him on the radar of a number of Championship clubs, with Preston securing his signature.

A dynamic player with an eye for goal, he has three goals and two assists to his name this season, most recently finding the net with a free-kick in the derby win over Blackpool.

A classy operator in midfield, Daniel Johnson is one of the longest-serving players in the Preston squad.

The Jamaica international was on the books at Crystal Palace and Aston Villa as a youngster, and was involved in several Premier League matchday squads for the latter but never made an appearance in the top-flight.

He had loan spells with Yeovil, Chesterfield and Oldham before making the switch to Preston in January 2015.

Johnson went on to help the Lilywhites secure promotion via the play-offs at the end of that season, and he has racked up 33 appearances and 57 goals to date.

He has been a consistent performer throughout their time in the second tier, and has been approaching his best form during their excellent recent run of form.