PNE target a rare opening-day victory
Preston North End go to Reading on Saturday looking for their first opening-day victory in the league for eight years.
The last time they opened up a campaign with a league win was against Ipswich Town at Portman Roadon August 9, 2008, goals from Paul McKenna and Simon Whaley giving PNE a 2-1 success.
For the last seven seasons, North End have kicked-off at Deepdale and not taken advantage of home comforts - drawing five and losing twice.
So can the away trip to the Madejski Stadium bring them a change of opening-day fortune?
In the early 1980s, Preston had winning starts three seasons running.
In August 1982, a Steve Elliott hat-trick gave the Lilywhites a 3-2 victory over Millwall.
A year later, Graham Houston’s goal saw North End beat Harry Redknapp’s Bournemouth at Dean Court.
Then in August 1984, a 2-0 win over Doncaster got the 84/85 campaign off to a good start – Houston and Paul Wilkins on target.
It was 14 years before North End would enjoy an opening-day victory again.
They broke that dismal run with a 3-0 win over York City at Deepdale, Michael Appleton, Mark Rankine and Kurt Nogan finding the net.
The following season, a Jon Macken goal gave David Moyes’ men a 1-0 win over Oldham Athletic at Boundary Park – signalling the start of their Second Division title-winning campaign.
North End made it three winning starts on the bounce when they earned a 2-1 victory at Grimsby in August 2000, Appleton and Macken scoring.
Watford were beaten home and away by PNE in the first fixtures of the 2004/05 and 2005/06 seasons respectively.
Richard Cresswell and David Healy scored in a 2-1 win at Deepdale in 2004, then David Nugent and Dickson Etuhu were on target 12 months later at Vicarage Road.
The next opening-day win came at Ipswich.
At the start of the 2012/13 campaign, the League Cup was played before the opening game of the league season – the London Olympics causing the delayed start.
North End beat Huddersfield – managed by Simon Grayson – 2-0 in the cup at Deepdale but were held to a 0-0 draw by Colchester when league action got underway.