Big match focus: Villa v PNE
MEET THE BOSS: Steve Bruce The 56-year-old was named Aston Villa boss in October, succeeding Robert Di Matteo who had been sacked in the wake of Villa's 2-0 defeat to Preston.
illa are the eighth club who the experienced Bruce has managed – he was previously in charge of Sheffield United, Huddersfield, Wigan (twice), Crystal Palace, Birmingham, Sunderland and Hull City. Bruce left Hull in the summer after guiding them to promotion to the Premier League via the play-offs.
MEET THE REF: Andrew Madley
The West Yorkshire official is in charge of Preston’s clash with Aston Villa at Villa Park. Mr Madley has overseen a number of PNE games in recent seasons, including the play-off final at Wembley. More recently, he had the whistle for North End’s 2-0 win at QPR in August and then in October’s 6-0 defeat to Newcastle at St James’ Park in October in the League Cup. In that game, he sent off Alan Browne for leading with his elbow in a challenge in the air.
48 years ago: On January 18, 1969, North End beat Aston Villa 1-0 at Deepdale to do the league double over the West Midlands club. The goal came in injury time, Jim McNab sliding the ball home from close range after the Villa keeper had flapped at a free-kick from Frank Lee.
38 years ago: This week in January 1979, Preston knocked First Division Derby County out of the FA Cup, winning 3-0 at Deepdale in front of a 19,901 crowd. Alex Bruce netted twice and Francis Burns got the other. It was the only game they played that January due to a severe winter.
30 years ago: On January 17, 1987, Preston drew 1-1 with Swansea at Vetch Field. Local teenager Nigel Jemson made his first league start and scored PNE’s goal.