Preview | Preston North End v Swansea City
Swansea City kick-off their Championship campaign this afternoon at Deepdale looking to kick on from their strong end to the 2019-20 season.
Steve Cooper’s Swans were one of the best performers in the division in the period following the resumption of the season, and went on to seal a play-off spot in dramatic fashion before seeing their promotion dreams ended by Brentford.
A little over six weeks have passed since defeat at Griffin Park, but the nature of the shortened off-season means the Swans are preparing to resume league action once more against Alex Neil’s Preston North End.
Swansea have found their two recent visits to Deepdale to be hard-fought affairs – with both ending in 1-1 draws – and they will expect another tough test against the Lilywhites.
Like the Swans, Neil’s side were firmly in the play-off mix for the majority of the season, but they were unable to string together the results required post-lockdown and ended up finishing ninth.
It promises to be the start of a fascinating and unprecedented season, and remember you can follow all the ups and downs of the campaign right here at swanseacity.com.
George Byers – who became a father earlier this week - is the only injury absentee for the trip to Lancashire due to a groin problem.
The likes of Ben Cabango, Connor Roberts, Marc Guehi and Liam Cullen all returned from international duty with a clean bill of health and are in contention.
New signings Morgan Gibbs-White, Korey Smith and Jamal Lowe could make their league debuts for the Swans.
Steve Cooper: “We start just by looking to Saturday, we have to be careful not to compare everything to last season because the landscape is very different.
“New players have arrived, some have left, the game schedule is different. It’s a clean slate.
“So, you won’t hear me talk about last season at all. It is a fresh start and a tougher challenge.”
Alex Neil: “We haven’t made it easy on ourselves in terms of the games we’ve selected (in pre-season), we’ve wanted to test ourselves, we’ve wanted it to be tough and difficult.
“We’ve wanted to stretch the squad in terms of having to do one game then the next game and everybody’s obviously getting tested at that point. We’ve came through it okay so I’m quite happy.”
Remember the last time?
Rhian Brewster’s close-range finish saw Swansea City pick up a hard-earned point against Preston at Deepdale back at the start of February.
The on-loan Liverpool striker was on hand to bundle the ball in and snare the second goal of his spell with the Swans.
That was the leveller, after former Swan Scott Sinclair had curled in the opener against the run of play.
The Swans looked the more dangerous side against a North End outfit boasting the best home record in the Championship, while they were resolute defensively as Joe Rodon and Marc Guehi impressed in defence.
But, in the end, the spoils were shared in Lancashire.
4 – Swansea City are unbeaten in their four meetings with Preston since returning to the Championship in 2018, claiming two wins and two draws.
12 – The Swans last win at the home of the Lilywhites came 12 years ago in September 2008, with Ferrie Bodde scoring a stunner in a 2-0 win.