The third day of August, the day Sky Bet Championship action returns to The Den. Millwall look to begin the 2019/20 season on a high this Saturday as Preston North End make the trip south. As the curtain is raised on the League campaign, we take a look at Alex Neil’s side.
Rich in history having won two League titles and two FA Cups – including an unbeaten season – Preston North End are an established name at this level of English football. The Lilywhites enter their fifth season at Championship level, having recovered from a sluggish start to secure a 14th-place finish last time out. The side narrowly missed out on a surprise Play-Off place the previous season, and will seek a top six push again this campaign.
Alex Neil has been at the helm at Deepdale since July 2017, having previously taken charge of – and experienced promotion and relegation with – Norwich City. Taking over from Simon Grayson, 38-year-old former midfielder Neil has guided his Preston team to seventh and 14th in his two seasons in the Championship – the Scotsman gradually building a squad capable of challenging.
Preston’s pre-season has seen them pick up five wins from eight warm-up matches, ending with a 2-1 victory over Premier League Newcastle United at Deepdale. Alongside numerous players released by the club, Preston most notably lost the services of Callum Robinson, who moved onto newly-promoted Sheffield United. Keeping much of the stability within the squad, Neil brought in Charlton defender Patrick Bauer and secured the return of David Nugent, with exciting wide player Andre Green signing on loan from Aston Villa this week.
Key players such as Ben Pearson, Alan Browne and a range of attacking talent could prove crucial for North End this season.