Millwall made just the one change to the side that beat Middlesbrough in their last fixture. Scott Barron returned from a one-match suspension to replace Tony Craig who dropped to the bench. Calvin Andrew partnered Steve Morison in attack but there was no place for recent loan capture Josh McQuoid, who had to wait for his first taste of Championship football after a slight rib injury.
Despite a bright start from the hosts, The Lions had the best of the first half chances. Early pressure saw a Morison try his luck from the edge of the box after a pass from Andrew, but the shot lacked enough power to trouble Andy Lonergan.
Preston full-back Billy Jones then tried to show Morison how it's done when he cut inside on the right and snapped off a 25-yard effort of his own but David Forde watched it fizz wide. James Henry decided he could do better minutes later but whilst his long range piledriver had Lonergan a touch more concerned, it wasn't on target and flew past the right-hand upright.
Most of the match however was concentrated in the middle of the Deepdale pitch and as such, both sets of players found the conditions tricky, with the surface firm to say the least and a layer of sand making the going even tougher. Both teams struggled to get to grips with it and subsequently found it difficult to maintain possession. But the pitch could not be to blame for Adam Barton's over-eager challenge on Paul Robinson and the young midfielder was fortunate to escape unpunished after a tackle that looked to be two-footed.
But it failed to stop Millwall's momentum, and Morison so nearly cashed in on a mistake from Michael Tonge. After robbing the on-loan Stoke midfielder, the Welsh international bore down on goal but could only tamely shoot at Lonergan, with Henry and Andrew in close support and perhaps offering better options.
Preston were by no means allowing the game to be dictated by their visitors, and Iain Hume had the ball in the net following Jon Parkin's pass but the big North End striker had already been ruled offside.
Despite The Lions losing Liam Trotter just 20 minutes into the contest, they continued to fashion the better chances. Andrew, who had found success in running the channels, played in a left-wing cross that was met well by a stooping Jason Puncheon. Lonergan, however, pulled off a quite outstanding save to deny the on-loan winger.
Preston hit back but Daryl Russell could only fire high and wide following further endeavour from Hume and Parkin. The Lilywhites, however, had clearly decided that brute force was needed to compete with Millwall and several heavy, but fair, challenges punctuated proceedings. Hume did go into the book midway through the first period when he tried to beat Danny Shittu in the air but could only lead with an elbow.
The Lions though continued to press and Wayne Brown and Leon Cort were having a busy afternoon dealing with a host of balls into the box. When that didn;t yield reward, Millwall tried the counter attack route for a goal and a strong surge through the middle from Puncheon saw him send a deflected shot inches wide. Andrew then picked up a Morison flick but could only stroke the ball into Lonergan's grateful arms.
The first half closed with Parkin just failing to get on the end of a Ritchie De Laet centre, but Preston carried that into the second period and Barton should have done better when shooting on goal from a Jones cross.
But then the second half belonged to Millwall, Brown needed to be in the right place at the right time to hack off the line ahead of Henry after Puncheon had sent a Morison cross back across goal. Jones followed suit minutes later when Henry pulled back a ball for Abdou but the Preston full-back made an inch perfect tackle to deny the substitute.
The Lilywhites were on the ropes and when Puncheon's cross was tipped over the bar by Lonergan, Henry's corner found Robinson, but the skipper just could not get enough on a poked effort to really test the Preston keeper.
The visiting support, which had been brilliant throughout, began to dominate the noise inside Deepdale and it lifted The Lions. Morison broke down the right, tried to wriggle into the box but the ball escaped from his control. It fell, however, kindly for Andrew, who actually struck it too well and his drive had Lonergan beaten but was inches wide. Morison had better luck in the next attack, weaving his way past Brown before shooting powerfully at goal. Lonergan though, produced his second brilliant save of the match to tip it around the post.
Preston, realising it was now or never with time running out, upped the ante, and Hume so nearly capitalised on a weak back pass from Shittu but luckily for Millwall, there was Forde to thump the ball to safety.
By this time, John Marquis had been sent on to try and add something different to The Lions' forward options and he combined with Scott Barron to allow the latter to cross for Morison who rose well but headed over the bar with Lonergan stranded.
Back came Preston but despite working openings, they found themselves up against the impressive Shittu and Robinson, screened imperiously by Tam Mkandawire, and, with either side unable to force a breakthrough, it remained goalless.
Preston: Lonergan, Jones, Brown, Cort, De Laet (Gray, 87mins), Barton, Tonge, Russell (Treacy, 66mins), Pugh (Mayor, 83mins), Parkin, Hume
Subs: Arestidou, St Ledger, Nicholson, Parry
Bookings: Hume (34mins), Jones (62mins)
Millwall: Forde, Dunne, Robinson, Shittu, Barron, Henry, Trotter (Abdou, 20mins), Mkandawire, Puncheon (Craig, 87mins), Morison, Andrew (Marquis, 69mins)
Subs: Mildenhall, Ward, Laird, Harris
Ref: K. Wright
Att: 9,579 (away 450)