Preston North End might just the most ‘11th’ Championship team ever. With no ounce of disrespect intended, the side also have one of he most solid and stable incomes in the Championship.
Their net spend is consistently amongst the lowest in the Championship. They often prefer to loan in or develop young players from their academy which is a testament to their team’s ethic.
Most teams that are promoted to the Championship via the League One play-offs struggle and often come straight back down. The likes of Barnsley, Rotherham (twice) and Yeovil have all not quite managed to cut it in the Championship.
Preston, though, are different and made the transition from League One to the Championship look seamless. In their first season, they finished 11th. In their second season, they finished 11th. In their third, they made the most remarkable of play-off challenges and finished just two points short in 7th.
But with one match to play this season they sit in 12th and are just two points adrift of that usual 11th place position. But why are Preston like this?
Firstly, they perform just as well at home as they do away. Often would be mid-table teams on their away form are dragged up the table by their much more impressive home form. Derby County are the perfect example of that this season.
But not Preston. They have earned 34 points at home and 27 on the road. This difference of only seven is amongst the smallest difference in the Championship table.
In addition, their incredibly low amount of spending is perhaps another reason Preston sit happily dead centre of the Championship table. Their inability to sign just one big name is perhaps why they lack the quality to make a promotion push.
Finally, Preston’s goals from all over the pitch with midfield players like Paul Gallagher, Daniel Johnson, Callum Robinson and Alan Browne scoring 6, 7, 13 and 12 goals respectively. Their goals shared between players is amongst the highest in the entire division.
Whilst this is all well and good, Preston do not have an out-and-out goalscorer to propel them from that unescapable mid-table spot.