By Daniel Wood
Huddersfield Town host Preston North End in the SkyBet Championship on Saturday 4th July at the John Smith’s Stadium; 3 pm KO.
Huddersfield Town will be looking to continue their winning ways after their 3-0 victory away from home, at Birmingham City. The victory took Huddersfield Town out of the bottom three and two points above the relegation zone.
Before Town’s win against Birmingham, they were on a two-game losing streak since the restart of the Championship.
These losses left Town in the relegation zone for the first time in 2020.
However, their big win away at Birmingham could spur them on to some more positive results.
Preston North End
Since the return of the Championship, Preston has not won a single game in the three they have played. They have drawn one and lost the other two since returning to action. These games included a 1-0 loss at home to Derby County and 3-1 at home to Cardiff.
This form has derailed Preston’s promotion hopes, as they have slipped out of the top six due to their recent poor results.
Preston has been very average away from home this season, as they carry the 14th best away record in the division. This is not very good for a team that is pushing for a play-off position. They have won 5, drawn 6 and lost 8 games on their travels this season.
Their manager, Alex Neil, has been at the helm since 4th July 2017 and will celebrate three years with the club as they face off against the Terriers on Saturday. So far, this season has been quite successful as his team has been in and around the top six during the season. Last season he guided Preston to a 14th place finish in the division and two seasons ago his side finished 7th, two points off the play-off positions.
Ones to Watch
The 26-year old forward has been a key man for Preston this season. He has scored 11 goals and assisted 5 this season for the Lilywhites and is there second top goalscorer this campaign. Barkhuizen has made 127 appearances for the club since 2016. In the 2017-18 season, Barkhuizen appeared in every single Championship game for Preston as they finished 7th in the division.
Johnson is currently in the middle of his fifth season as a Preston North End player. The player has featured heavily for the club in an attacking midfield role, he has made 214 appearances for the club. The 27-year old has scored 43 goals and provided 24 assists during that time. This season, he is the club’s top goal scorer (12) and top assister (5).
The 29-year old goalkeeper has been ever-present this season for Preston in the Championship. He has a total of 7 clean sheets this season, which is the joint 8th most in the division this season. A key strength of Rudd is his long passing ability, which has been able to catch out the opposition on several occasions.
Team News – Huddersfield Town
Tommy Elphick (knee) and Jaden Brown (appendix) are Town’s only absentees.
Juninho Bacuna is suspended for the game.
Team News – Preston North End
Louis Moult is out with a long-term knee injury.
Paul Huntington is suspended for three games due to picking up a straight red card against Derby County.
The Terriers slightly lead the head-to-head record since their first clash with the Lilywhites, back in 1912. Town has won 36 games, there has been 22 draws and Preston have won 34 encounters. In the reverse fixture, earlier this season, Preston were 3-1 winners at home against Town.
Both sides have started shaky since the restart. Preston has not won any of their three games, only picking up one point during this time and Huddersfield have won one of three games, losing the other two. It will be interesting to see whether Huddersfield continue their winning ways or the Lilywhites can regain the form that has made them play-off challengers.
The Terriers are looking to put some breathing room between themselves and the bottom three, as they could potentially go five points clear and move up to 18th in the division. On the other hand, Preston is looking to get closer to the top six. Best case scenario for them would take them one point off the top six.
Both teams will be desperate for a good result, so I believe it will be a close encounter.
Therefore, I predict:
Huddersfield Town 1-1 Preston North End