Familiar foes have got form on their side

Keeping them at bay: Joe Murphy pictured in the JPT tie against Preston recently
Keeping them at bay: Joe Murphy pictured in the JPT tie against Preston recently
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The form book favours Coventry leaving Preston with three points tomorrow afternoon.

After all, the Sky Blues have won seven times on their travels this season, while PNE’s run without a home league win is stretching towards the four-month mark.

But Coventry traditionally have not found Deepdale a happy hunting ground.

Results suggest they hate the place, their 17 visits to date producing just a solitary victory.

That came in September 2000 when the then-Premier League side won 3-1 in a League Cup tie.

The 10 meetings at Deepdale since have seen eight North End wins and two draws.

So perhaps a ray of sunlight looms on the horizon for North End as far as playing in front of the home faithful is concerned.

Coventry head to Lancashire expecting PNE to have revenge on their minds following events a fortnight ago in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy tie.

With this the third meeting of the sides in a little over a month, a mini rivalry has been building up.

Sky Blues keeper Joe Murphy said: “The previous two games have been tasty enough matches and their boss is quite lively on the bench.

“Graham Westley will have his players well organised, so we know what to expect up there.”

Tomorrow’s visitors sit two places and three points shy of the play-off places.

It is their form on the road which has largely taken them on a climb up the table after a poor start to the season which cost Andy Thorn the manager’s job.

Thorn’s successor Mark Robins has revitalised them, with his 29 games in charge producing 16 victories, five draws and eight defeats in all competitions.

Looking ahead to the Preston clash, Robins said: “We go up there on the back of two brilliant home victories and we want to continue picking up points.

“They are all tough games and this one in particular is never an easy game, but we’ll be ready for it.

“I would imagine they’ll be disappointed in the way they conceded late goals in the Trophy game.

“But it’s about the way we go about our preparation and do our work that’s important.”

While Coventry have the highest number of away wins in the division outside of the top two, their home form has picked up recently.

After beating North End in the JPT, they lost 1-0 at Carlisle four days later.

They bounced back to win at the Ricoh against Tranmere, and last Saturday beat Oldham 2-1 at home.

Former PNE striker Stephen Elliott came off the bench to put them 1-0 in front.

Oldham looked to have earned a point after netting an 89th-minute equaliser, before James Bailey scored an injury-time winner.

Elliott will be hoping last week’s goal can earn him a start at Deepdale – he last featured in the starting XI on Boxing Day.

The Irishman scored eight goals in two years as a Preston player before leaving in August 2010 to join Hearts.

He has got competition up front from former PNE loanee Leon Clarke and Gary McSheffrey.