Having briefly gone top of the Championship table with a 1-0 away at Charlton Athletic last Sunday, Preston North End will once again be looking to lay down a marker when they host Huddersfield Town at Deepdale on Saturday.
Alex Neil’s side are still unbeaten on home soil this season, having come from 2-0 down to beat Blackburn 3-2 the last time they played on their own turf, and could return to the second-tier summit this weekend if they win and other results go their way.
Beating Huddersfield is unlikely to be an easy task however. The Yorkshire based club are unbeaten in their last seven league games, while manager Danny Cowley has just been named the Championship’s manager of the month for October.
With that in mind, we’ve taken a look at the starting lineup that Neil could name in order to ensure Preston overcome what may be one of their trickiest tasks so far this season on Saturday.
Having employed a 4-2-3-1 formation for much of the season so far, we imagine it is that system that Neil will once again use on Saturday.
In goal, Declan Rudd looks likely to continue between the posts just as he had done in the league all season.
With Preston’s defence looking far from certain in his absence against Blackburn, the return of Ben Davies from injury at Charlton helped North End to a useful clean sheet, so he should once again continue alongside Darnell Fisher, Patrick Bauer and Joe Rafferty in a back four that has been pretty much nailed down this season, when suspensions and injuries have allowed.
Can Preston end Huddersfield's unbeaten run on Saturday?
One change that Preston will definitely have to make is in midfield, where Ben Pearson is suspended after picking up a fifth booking of the season against Charlton, meaning Paul Gallagher – who came off the bench to score the only goal of the game at The Valley from the penalty spot – could return to the starting lineup alongside Alan Browne.
Another alteration North End could be forced into comes in the attacking midfield area, with Daniel Johnson continuing to be assessed after limping off with a foot injury half an hour into the Charlton clash.
That concern over Johnson means that the return to fitness of David Nugent, who was absent from that trip to London, has come at a rather useful time for Alex Neil and co.
Upfront, we expect Jayden Stockley to continue to lead the line for North End, having made enough of an impact from the bench against Blackburn to earn that role from the start last weekend at Charlton, with the continued success in that time meaning Neil may be reluctant to change something if he does not need to.