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Big Match Preview: Preston North End

City will be hoping to overturn their dismal run against the Lilywhites.

The Robins have not beaten Tuesday's opponents since 2011 and will be out to ensure they do not repeat the 5-0 demolition they endured at the hands of Preston North End back in April.

But City are flying high in the Sky Bet Championship this season and have lost just three times in 26 games.

Tonight at the Gate sparks an opportunity to extend City's unbeaten run and add to Preston's current winless streak.

FACTFILE

Formed: 1880
Nickname: Lilywhites / Invincibles
Website: www.pcfc.net
Twitter: @PNEFC
Ground: Deepdale
Capacity: 23,404

Honours:
First Division: 1888/89 (first team to go season unbeaten) and 1889/90
Second Division:1903/04, 1912/13, 1950/51
Third Division1970/71, 1999/00. Play off winner in 2014/15.
Fourth Division: Fourth Division winner (League Two): 1995/96
FA Cup winners: 1889 (did not concede a goal), 1938.

Last season:
Championship: 11th
FA Cup: Third round, lost to Arsenal
EFL Cup: Fourth round lost to Newcastle United
Top scorer:  Jordan Hugill (13 all comps)
Average attendance: 12,606

HOW DID THEY GET HERE?

The Lilywhites are one of just a handful of clubs to have conquered all four tiers of the English Football League (EFL).

They famously went on to become the first ever football team to go an entire league campaign unbeaten (1888.89) – a feat matched only once, by Arsenal in 2003/04.

Although a different game in the 1880s, Preston’s footballing achievement was perhaps made more spectacular as they went on to lift the FA Cup in the same season, without conceding a single goal.

Fast forward 130 years and their honours list has grown but not as much as they would have liked in recent years; their last major achievement being promotion back into the Championship in 2015, via a Wembley showdown against Swindon Town (4-0).

They completed their recent rise into England’s second tier at the same time as City, but have enjoyed higher finishes in the division (11th in 2016 and 2017) than today's hosts.

Now three months into the current campaign and City have kept themselves in the promotion places but Preston know they are only a couple of wins from being in contention themselves, as the Championship looks to be as tightly contested than ever.

Preston boss Alex Neil

MEET THE GAFFER

Neil retired as a professional footballer just two years ago, after a 16-year career with four clubs.

He spent the majority of those years – a decade – with Hamilton Academical where the midfielder scored six goals in more than 240 appearances. He enjoyed promotion success, helping Hamilton back into the Scottish Premiership, both as a player and in his first season as manager in 2013/14.

He joined Norwich City as Canaries’ boss in January 2015 and led them to both Premier League promotion and relegation. After his sacking, he joined Preston North End in July.

STAR MAN - Jordan Hugill

He is the club’s leading goalscorer this season with seven goals to his name in the current campaign – that’s half as many goals as he managed last year, when he bagged 13 goals in all competitions. It was considered his breakthrough season and the 25-year-old forward will want to surpass last year’s tally.

And his efforts have not gone unnoticed, with Preston having turned down transfer offers over the summer. Hugill even had a transfer request rejected but the striker appears to have not let the speculation deter his focus.

Hugill began his footballing career at Port Vale before joining Gateshead on loan and eventually signing for Preston North End in June 2014.

City's Lee Trundle rounds the Preston keeper

MEMORABLE MEETING - MAY 4th 2008

Bristol City 3-0 Preston North End

Championship

Goals: Lee Trundle 8’, Michael McIndoe 16’, David Noble 51’

City clinched the play-offs with a 3-0 Ashton Gate victory against Preston North End. Lee Trundle fired Gary Johnson’s side ahead, before he turned supplier for Michael McIndoe. The damage was done inside the first 45 minutes but David Noble added the icing on the cake early into the second half.

City went on to defeat Crystal Palace en route to the Wembley final, where it was heartbreak at the hands of Hull City.

AND FINALLY...

Officials
Referee: Darren Bond
John Flynn and Mark Pottage
Fourth Official: Gavin Ward

Betting (via SkyBet)
City 10/11
Draw 5/2
Preston 29/10

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