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34 y/o in: The Preston XI we expect Neil to field against Millwall this weekend

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After they fell just two points short of the top six in 2017/18, last season was a slightly frustrating one for Preston North End.

Alex Neil’s side finished the season 14th, following a topsy turvy campaign in which they flirted with both the play-offs and relegation zone.

Their transfer window has been a fairly quiet one in terms of signings, with David Nugent and Patrick Bauer the only new faces to arrive at Deepdale.

The big story this summer for the North West club has been the sale of star winger Callum Robinson to Sheffield United.

Robinson was excellent for Preston last season, scoring 13 goals and providing four assists in just 28 appearances, and has yet to be replaced with the start of the season looming.

Neil’s side travel to the Den to face Neil Harris’ Millwall for their Championship opener – not the easiest place to kick off the 2019/20 season.

But how can we expect Preston to line-up?

Other than a mid-season wobble, Declan Rudd was a mainstay in the Preston side last season and that should continue in 2019/20.

At the back, Neil partnered new signing Patrick Bauer with Ben Davies in the 2-1 pre-season victory against Newcastle United and he looks likely to do so again at the Den, with Andrew Hughes on their left and Darnell Fisher on their right.

Despite not yet replacing Robinson, I fancy the Preston boss will stick with the 4-2-3-1 that he favoured for much of last season, particularly in the run-in. Daniel Johnson and Ben Pearson look the most likely pair to take the two holding midfield roles. 

Championship Picks

Alan Browne was fantastic last season, contributing 12 goals and 6 assists, he will no doubt play in the number 10 role, with Tom Barkhuizen on his right.

Paul Gallagher was a reliable asset for Neil last season, chipping in with six goals and seven assists, don’t be surprised if the Preston boss uses him to fill the hole left by Robinson – the 34-year-old has experience on the left flank.

Experienced summer addition David Nugent should add some firepower but I expect Sean Maguire to start with Billy Bodin still out injured.

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