Home opener again for PNE

Joe Garner celebrates last season's winner at Leyton Orient
Joe Garner celebrates last season's winner at Leyton Orient
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Preston North End will have to buck the trend of recent years as they chase victory over Notts County on the opening day of the 2014/15 season.

It is six years since PNE kicked off a campaign with three points – that was in a 2-1 win over Ipswich Town at Portman Road in 2008.

Three draws and two defeats have followed in the intervening seasons.

All of those have come at Deepdale, with the fixture computer again handing the Lilywhites a home start for August 9 against Shaun Derry’s Magpies.

In general, the fixture list has been kind to Preston – with a couple of notably exceptions.

The long haul to Gillingham is on a Tuesday night, with the Gills also making the return journey to Lancashire in midweek.

And there is a West Country double header for Preston at the end of November.

They travel to Bristol City and then Yeovil on successive Saturdays, which will stretch the bank balance of fans.

PNE have a home clash with Barnsley on Boxing Day, then have a short trip to Crewe 48 hours later.

There is no New Year’s Day fixture this term though, Football League clubs having voted not to schedule games that afternoon.

Easter sees a home match with Rochdale, then a trip to Bradford City on the Monday.

The local derby with League One newcomers Fleetwood will be at Deepdale on October 25, and Highbury Stadium on March 28.

North End season ticket holder Paul Whelan said: “Generally I’m quite happy with the way the fixtures have come out.

“Our first game back in this division after relegation was against Colchester in 2011.

“We play Colchester away on the final day this time and hopefully it will be our last in League One and we can get back to the Championship.

“I’m pleased with being at home on Boxing Day and not bothered about not having a New Year’s Day fixture as they can often be a damp squib.

“While I’m enjoying the World Cup and watching Lancashire Cricket Club, it will be nice to get back to watching Preston. I’ve got a couple of new grounds to tick off – Yeovil and Peterborough.”

There are some potentially testing games for North End early on in the season.

They have an August 19 visit to Doncaster, who will be aiming to make a swift return to the Championship following relegation in May.

Sheffield United, seen by many as title favourites, come to Deepdale on August 30.

The following week, September 6, Preston head to the capital to play beaten play-off finalists Leyton Orient.

Last November’s 1-0 win at Brisbane Road, delivered by a superb volley from Joe Garner, was regarded by many North End supporters as their best away day of the campaign.

Jamie Jones was between the sticks for Orient that day but this time the goalkeeper will be wearing Preston colours having agreed a Bosman switch, which takes effect on July 1.

FIXTURES

AUGUST

9 NOTTS COUNTY H

16 SCUNTHORPE A

19 DONCASTER A

23 OLDHAM H

30 SHEFF UNITED H

SEPTEMBER

6 LEYTON ORIENT A

13 WALSALL A

16 CHESTERFIELD H

20 CRAWLEY H

27 COVENTRY A

OCTOBER

4 COLCHESTER H

11 SWINDON A

18 PORT VALE H

21 GILLINGHAM A

25 FLEETWOOD H

NOVEMBER

1 ROCHDALE A

15 BRADFORD H

22 BRISTOL CITY A

29 YEOVIL A

DECEMBER

13 MK DONS H

20 PETERBOROUGH A

26 BARNSLEY H

28 CREWE A

JANUARY

3 YEOVIL H

10 SHEFF UNITED A

17 LEYTON ORIENT H

24 WALSALL H

31 CRAWLEY A

FEBRUARY

7 COVENTRY H

10 CHESTERFIELD A

14 NOTTS COUNTY A

21 SCUNTHORPE H

28 OLDHAM A

MARCH

3 DONCASTER H

7 MK DONS A

14 CREWE H

17 PETERBOROUGH H

21 BARNSLEY A

28 FLEETWOOD A

APRIL

4 ROCHDALE H

6 BRADFORD A

11 BRISTOL CITY H

14 GILLINGHAM H

18 PORT VALE A

25 SWINDON H

MAY

2 COLCHESTER A