Hillsborough foes have traded places
Preston's clash with Sheffield Wednesday certainly has a, '˜You look familiar' feel to it.
Four players in the PNE squad have previously worn Wednesday colours and two of the Owls players are former North End employees.
Aiden McGeady, Marnick Vermijl, Tommy Spurr and Stevie May all had stints at Hillsborough.
On the flip side of the coin, Ross Wallace and Adam Reach served PNE – winger Reach as recently as last season while on loan from Middlesbrough.
Of the Lilywhites quartet, Spurr had the longest stay as a Wednesday player, starting there as a trainee and making more than 200 appearances over six years.
Vermijl was on their books for 18 months but a season of that time was spent on loan with North End – the move was made permanent earlier this season.
Last year, PNE signed May from Wednesday after a 13-month stay for the front man in South Yorkshire.
McGeady was on loan with the Owls in the second half of last season, playing 13 games before drifting out of favour.
Reach and Wallace are both expected to face North End on Saturday.
This is Wallace’s second season with Wednesday, with the Scotsman a regular in their side.
He spent two years with North End, initially on loan from Sunderland then on a permanent basis.
A five-year stay at Burnley followed before he headed to Hillsborough on a Bosman in July 2015.
Wednesday’s form has been somewhat patchy this season but they are handily placed in seventh ahead of Preston’s visit.
A home win against Aston Villa on the opening day of the season gave way to a run of five games without a victory.
They won six of their next nine matches in September and October to put them back on track.
There followed successive defeats to Derby and Ipswich, then a draw at Fulham.
Last Saturday, Wednesday got back to winning ways, beating Wolves 2-0.
There has been a return to form for striker Fernando Forestieri, the Italian scoring in the last two matches.
He was sent off the last time PNE and Wednesday met in February, yellow cards for simulation and a deliberate handball leading to red.
After seeing Forestieri find the net at Wolves, Owls head coach Carlos Carvalhal said: “I told Fernando that he is back again.
“He performed very well against Fulham in the last game and against Wolves he again did very well.
“It is the Fernando we know and recognise and that the coaches and fans like. He has a fantastic environment here to have another good season and we need him.
“We are better than last season and the big difference is the efficiency.
“We have found a way to score goals and the level of the football is very high.
“I hope that we can keep this going for all of the season.”
Wednesday’s victory at Wolves came a week after North End had been unable to break down Paul Lambert’s stubborn side.
“We deserved to win,” said Carvalhal.
“Wolves made it difficult for us in the early stages but we were determined to create chances and we did this very well.
“We scored the first goal and deserved to be in front, but then we wanted to keep making chances and we did this and got the second.”