Preston North End host Charlton Athletic on Saturday afternoon, in what looks set to be an intriguing encounter that could yet have significant ramifications at both ends of the Championship table.
Football League World will be reporting live from Deepdale for the Saturday afternoon 15:00 kick-off, so we’ve gathered together everything you need to know in the build-up to this one.
A second-half Paul Gallagher penalty was enough to secure all three points for Preston when the two sides met at The Valley earlier in the season, and North End will want a repeat of that scoreline, Charlton will be desperate to gain some revenge for that, as both sides look to take significant steps towards their respective aims for the season on Saturday.
Despite being winless in their last five league matches, Preston are still just three points adrift of the play-offs, meaning a win here could put them right back into contention for a top-six spot, and with it, a shot at promotion.
Charlton, meanwhile, have hit a challenging run of poor form in the past few months following their promising start to the campaign after last season’s promotion, and with just one win in their last 15 in the league, are now just five points clear of the relegation.
Given the respective form of their opponents going into this one, both Preston and Charlton may see this as an opportunity to pick up a much-needed, and long-awaited, victory.
Neither side’s cause on Saturday however, is going to be helped by the absence of their top scorers going into the clash at Deepdale.
Although Preston’s leading scorer this season, Daniel Johnson, has now returned to training after a string of injury problems that first seemed to arise in the reverse fixture between, the attacker is not expected to be rushed back to action, meaning he may not feature on Saturday.
That loss may at least be offset by the fact that Scott Sinclair now has another week’s training under his belt following his move from Celtic last week, which could give him the chance of a more extended home debut, following the cameo of a debut he was handed from the bench at Ewood Park last week.
Charlton’s situation, however, looks as though it could be even more severe of that of their hosts.
Both Macauley Bonne and Lyle Taylor are set to miss the trip to Deepdale through injury, while on-loan Connor Gallagher has now been recalled by parent club Chelsea – with his subsequent move to Championship rivals Swansea only likely to rub salt into Addicks wounds – leaving Lee Bowyer’s side without the trio who have scored 21 of their 36 league goals so far this season.
Along with the fact that Preston have on average enjoyed more possession across the course of the matches than Charlton this season, that suggests that it is the hosts who should be able to both create and convert more chances than their visitors on Saturday.
Indeed, their respective positions in the table and aims for this season back that up as well.
It should be remembered, however, that with so little between these two sides earlier in the year, this is game could yet go either way.