Big match focus: PNE v Bees

Dean Smith

Dean Smith

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MEET THE BOSS: Dean Smith

45-year-old was appointed Brentford boss in November 2015, succeeding Marinus Dijkhuizen who had been sacked earlier that season.

he Bees moved for Smith after being impressed with the work he had done on a limited budget at Walsall. He was in charge of the Saddlers for nearly four years and brought a lot of players through from the youth system into the first-team squad. The month before he left to join Brentford, Walsall had turned down an approach from Rotherham for Smith.

MEET THE REF: Tony Harrington

The Cleveland official is in charge of Preston’s clash with Brentford at Deepdale. It is the second time Mr Harrington has refereed a PNE game this season, the other being the 1-1 draw at Nottingham Forest in December. His last visit to Deepdale was in November 2015 when North End beat Forest 1-0. This will be his 25th game of the season, with him so far issuing 94 yellow cards and just two reds. Last week, he was in the middle for Blackburn’s win over QPR.

THIS WEEK...

39 years ago: On February 4, 1978, Preston beat Carlisle United 2-1 at Deepdale. Alex Bruce got both goals from the penalty spot, the win forming part of an eight-game unbeaten run for Nobby Stiles’ promotion-chasers.

30 years ago: North End won 3-1 against Halifax Town at The Shay on February 7, 1987. Gary Swann, Nigel Jemson and Gary Brazil found the net in West Yorkshire, which got them back to winning ways after defeat to top-flight Newcastle in the FA Cup fourth round.

17 years ago: On February 10, 2000, PNE hammered Queens Park Rangers 5-0 at Deepdale. United States international Brian McBride scored his only goal in Preston colours, with Jon Macken(2), David Healy and Iain Anderson on target. It was one of three wins on the bounce for North End.