Big match focus: Brentford v PNE

Dean Smith is Brentford's manager
Dean Smith is Brentford's manager
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THE BOSS: Dean Smith

It was last November when Brentford lured Dean Smith away from Walsall to take their manager’s job.

He succeeded Marinus Dijkhuizen who lasted less than four months in the job, with Lee Carsley then holding the fort in a caretaker capacity. Smith had been in charge at Walsall for four years – previously working as their youth coach – and brought a number of young players into the first team during his time at the helm.

THE REFEREE: Keith Stroud

The Hampshire official will referee Preston’s visit to Griffin Park. Mr Stroud has taken charge of a number of PNE games down the years, the latest two being last season – at home to Sheffield Wednesday and away to Birmingham. In the Wednesday game, he sent off Owls playmaker Fernando Forestieri. This is Mr Stroud’s 11th match of the season, and he has issued 48 yellow cards and four reds to date.

THIS WEEK...

40 years ago: Preston beat Port Vale 4-0 at Deepdale on September 14, 1976. Alex Bruce netted twice, one of his goals a penalty, with Mike Elwiss and Gordon Coleman also on target. Harry Catterick was the North End manager of the day.

32 years ago: On September 15, 1984, North End beat Hull City 2-1 at Boothferry Park. The game was featured on Match of the Day. Goals from Jonathan Clark and Mark Jones gave PNE the win. Jones’ goal made the shortlist for the BBC’s goal of the month award and came second behind a Bryan Robson strike for England.

30 years ago: Preston beat Halifax Town 3-2 at Deepdale on September 16, 1986. They came from 2-0 down to win, John Thomas scoring a hat-trick for John McGrath’s men. North End would go on to win promotion from the old Fourth Division that season.