A potted history of the derby as Blackpool and Preston prepare to renew rivalry after eight years apart

West Lancashire rivals Blackpool and Preston North End meet for the 97th time this weekend.
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When Blackpool legend Sir Stanley Matthews got the better of his Preston adversa...

Since the first meeting in 1901, PNE have had the upper-hand with 46 victories to their name.

The Seasiders have claimed 30 wins, while a further 20 encounters have ended in draws.

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Saturday’s encounter is the first meeting between the two sides since 2013, when the Lilywhites edged a League Cup tie 1-0 thanks to Tom Clarke’s header.

In terms of a league fixture at Bloomfield Road, the two haven’t faced one another since 2009, when the rivals - whose grounds are separated by just 17 miles - played out a 1-1 draw during Blackpool’s promotion-winning campaign.

Billy Clarke, the last Blackpool player to find the back of the net against PNE, gave Ian Holloway’s men the lead after just 23 seconds, only for Ross Wallace to hit back for the visitors.

Blackpool haven’t beaten Preston on home turf since the turn of the Millennium, their last victory coming in 1997 when Phil Clarkson bagged both goals in a 2-1 win.

The Seasiders host their fierce rivals for the first time since 2009The Seasiders host their fierce rivals for the first time since 2009
The Seasiders host their fierce rivals for the first time since 2009
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The first M55 derby took place in November 1901 at Bloomfield Road. In front of a crowd of 6,000, Preston won 4-1.

Three years later, Preston would again edge out the Seasiders to hand them the Division Two championship ahead of Woolwich Arsenal.

The derby has taken place across all four tiers of English football, but not the top flight since the formation of the Premier League.

The biggest margin of victory came in 1948, when Blackpool thrashed their rivals 7-0 at Deepdale. Jim McIntosh scored five of Blackpool’s seven goals.

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To this day it remains Blackpool’s biggest away victory and PNE’s record defeat.

Unlike today, the derby first began as a fairly jovial one, with rival fans arguing who was the better player - Sir Stanley Matthews or Sir Tom Finney.

Matthews started for the men in tangerine on Christmas Day in 1958, when Blackpool inflicted a 4-2 defeat on their neighbours at Bloomfield Road.

When the two sides met again on Boxing Day at Deepdale, the visitors were 3-0 victors.

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One of the most significant West Lancashire derbies took place in April 1970, when Fred Pickering bagged a hat-trick to help Blackpool win 3-0 at Deepdale.

The victory clinched Blackpool’s promotion back to the First Division, while the result also assisted in Preston being relegated to the third tier for the first time in the club’s history.

There have been plenty of players over the years to cross the divide and play for both clubs.

Most notably, Tony Ellis signing for Blackpool in 2004 for a fee of £165,000 after two separate spells with preston.

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The likes of Ray Charnley, David Eyres, Colin Greenall, Colin Hendry, Gary Parkinson, Andy Lonergan, Brett Ormerod and Andy Little have worn the colours of both clubs.

Sam Allardyce, Paul Simpson, Phil Brown, Michael Appleton, Simon Grayson and Neil McDonald have all either played or coached one of the sides.

Of the current crop of players, Preston duo Brad Potts and Tom Barkhuizen will be aiming to line up against their former club.

There will be no reunion for Blackpool goalkeeper Chris Maxwell, who left Deepdale in January 2020 to make the move to Bloomfield Road.

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The 31-year-old, who spent four years with Preston, is currently sidelined with a torn quad.

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