Q&A With Preston North End

  • November 17, 2017 | By Gabe John
  • URL Short URL: http://b-ac.es/dd0ce

An injury crisis at Preston North End could hand Bolton the boost they need, as they go in search of a first Championship away win since April 2015.

Those are the views of Lilywhites supporter Steven Ward, who spoke to us ahead of Friday's Sky Bet Championship fixture between the two sides at Deepdale.

In the following Q&A interview, Steven shares his views on North End's slump in form, why Wanderers' recent resurgence could see them start the weekend outside of the relegation zone, as well as his thoughts on the job done by manager Phil Parkinson over the last 17 months.

Q: After a positive start, Preston find themselves 14th in the table and on a run of four consecutive defeats. Going into Friday's game, what will the attitude be like in the North End camp after recent losses?

A: We have suffered a horrific run of long-term injuries in defence, losing Tommy Spurr and Calum Woods on top of Tom Clarke and Greg Cunnigham, who are also long-term casualties. We have had up to eight missing in recent games which has led to us piecing together a makeshift defence.

That being said, we have let performances drop in other areas of the field. But the attitude from the players and manager in the media seems to be positive and we are hoping the international break has done us some good to try and work on a few things and maybe get a body or two back in the squad.

However, Alex Neil has said we could still be missing six or seven at the back for the game.

Q: A travelling contingent of around 4,000 Wanderers fans will be making the short journey to Deepdale. As Wanderers fans, we see this as a big local derby. How do the Preston faithful view this game and Wanderers as a club?

A: As it's our only league derby of the season, there might be a bit more emphasis on the game from our fans. But in terms of derbies it's down our list, behind the likes of Blackpool, Blackburn Rovers and Burnley. This could be because we haven't played each other much since the Play-Off Final in 2001.

That being said, any local derby is a game which no fan wants to lose so I'm looking forward to it.

As a club it's great to see Bolton recover from their financial worries, which looked very bleak at one point, plus I have to say Phil Parkinson has done a great job in steering the club back up in his first season.

Q: With the clinical Jordan Hugil out through suspension, how will Preston go about Friday's game differently than they may have done previously?

A: Jordan Hugill will be a big miss. However, we have also lost Sean Maguire for a number of months.

He has been a huge source of goals and action this season, since he signed from Cork City. However, this will lead to a chance for Stephy Mavididi, who is an England under-20 international on loan from Arsenal.

Q: Looking ahead to the game, who do you view as Preston's biggest threat and, vice versa, who could cause you some problems?

A: Our main danger will be Tom Barkhuizen. He's a pacey and direct winger who can also play through the middle and has been a great signing since we purchased him from Morecambe at the end of 2016.

Ben Pearson is another to watch out for. A fiesty, tackling midfielder who can spray passes and likes confrontation, so a derby game is his sort of game.

As for Bolton, Sammy Ameobi is having a very good season and has always looked a tricky player whenever I've seen him play. Adam Armstrong is another talented young player who scored the winner for Barnsley against us at Deepdale last season, plus Gary Madine is an experienced striker who could give our inexperienced defence several problems.

Q: Finally, how do you see Friday's game planning out?

A: A few weeks ago I would have had us nailed down for a win, but with our current injury situation and the fact Bolton are five unbeaten and coming into form after a great win against Norwich, it's going to be a very tough game.

I fancy us for a 2-1 win, but I'm not going bet on it! Let's just hope it's a good game as the 0-0 at Deepdale last time was a poor one.

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Sky Bet League One Standings

Pos Team Pld Pts
19 AFC Wimbledon 18 16
20 Tranmere Rovers 17 16
21 Milton Keynes Dons 18 13
22 Southend United 19 6
23 Bolton Wanderers 15 1
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