Preview | Preston North End v Swansea City
Swansea City head to Deepdale this afternoon to face Preston North End in a meeting of two Championship play-off hopefuls.
The Swans and the Lilywhites have been in the upper reaches of the table for the majority of the season, and they enter this fixture separated by just two places and a solitary point, with the hosts occupying the final top-six spot.
Steve Cooper’s side emerged on top when the teams locked horns at the Liberty back in August, recovering from an early deficit to secure a 3-2 win.
Few would bet against another entertaining and hard-fought clash.
Preston, for their part, boast the best home record in the division with a tally of 32 points from 15 games at their famous old home.
But the Swans have proven themselves to be doughty travellers, suffering just three defeats away from home.
Only two sides have suffered fewer in the Championship and the visitors continue to enjoy one of the best away records this season.
And, with so many sides jostling for position in a congested table, it makes for a fascinating fixture.
Kyle Naughton is back in contention for the trip to Lancashire after recovering from the illness that kept him out of the defeat at Stoke.
But Connor Roberts is a doubt after suffering a shoulder injury in the Potteries.
Mike van der Hoorn is three to four weeks away from a return from his knee injury, while Jordon Garrick
Steve Cooper: “I have a lot of respect for Preston and their manager Alex Neil, who has shown he cannot just do the job at Preston, but at Norwich and in Scotland too.
“So, we know we have to be ready on all fronts to win this game, but we believe we will be.
“We believe, if we get it right, we will give ourselves a real good chance of winning the game and playing well.
“That will always be our main objective but we have to do it.”
Preston defender Joe Rafferty: “They are a good team; they play really good football. I know the manager Steve Cooper and his assistant Mike Marsh very well; they were my youth team managers at Liverpool.
“They look to play football in the right way; they want to get the ball down and play, so it will be a great game between two good teams and we will go at it and see how we get on.”
Remember the last time?
The Swans had to settle for a point on their last visit to Deepdale after Preston came from behind to claim a 1-1 draw.
Graham Potter's side, chasing a third consecutive win in all competitions, had led in the 55th minute courtesy of Courtney Baker-Richardson's third goal of the season.
The hosts, though, would earn a share of the spoils courtesy of a controversial penalty which Daniel Johnson slotted home after Connor Roberts was harshly adjudged to have handled Jayden Stockley's cross.
Preston would finish the game with 10 men after sub Josh Earl was dismissed with nine minutes left.
10 – Andre Ayew’s 10-goal tally in the Championship marks the second time he has reached double figures for the Swans in a league campaign. Also doing so in 2015-16.
11 – Swansea can complete a first league double over Preston in 11 years, last doing so during the 2008-09 season.