BIG MATCH FOCUS: Nottingham Forest v Preston North End

Forest boss Aitor Karanka
Forest boss Aitor Karanka

Preston North End travel to the City Ground on Saturday to face an in-form Forest side. Here we look at the the man in charge of Preston’s opponents, plus the man in the middle, referee Steve Martin.

MEET THE BOSS: Aitor Karanka

The Spaniard is 11 months into his City Ground post after succeeding Mark Warburton in January. Previous to that, Karanka had managed Middlesbrough for three-and-a-half years. His Boro side were beaten by Alex Neil’s Norwich in the 2015 Championship play-off final but the following year he guided them to automatic promotion. He left the Riverside Stadium in Match 2017. Karanka worked as Jose Mourinho’s assistant coach at Real Madrid for three years between 2011 and 2013.

MEET THE REF: Steve Martin

The Staffordshire official will be in charge for Preston’s visit to Nottingham Forest on Saturday. North End fans may well remember Mr Martin for his performance in the 3-2 defeat at Wolves last season. Alan Browne had already walked off the pitch knowing he was about to get a second yellow card and be sent off. Mr Martin called him back up the tunnel to show him the yellow and then the red card. He also refereed PNE’s 2-1 home win over Hull in February.

THIS WEEK IN PNE’S HISTORY

55 years ago: A hat-trick from Alec Ashworth gave Preston a 3-0 win over Bury at Deepdale on December 7, 1963.

32 years ago: On December 6, 1986, North End drew 0-0 against non-league Chorley in the FA Cup. The game was played at Blackburn’s Ewood Park ground. PNE won the replay 5-0 three days later.

27 years: PNE won 5-1 against Witton Albion in the second round of the FA Cup on December 7, 1991. Steve Senior, Gary Swann, Mike Flynn, Graham Shaw and Nigel Greenwood were on target against the non-league side.

19 years ago: On December 7, 1999, North End beat Wrexham 4-1 in the Auto Windscreens Trophy. Icelandic striker Bjarki Gunnlaugsson scored a hat-trick, with Rob Edwards also on target.