Deja vu for Preston North End as Championship fixtures have striking similarities to last season

It is almost a case of deja vu for Preston North End as their fixtures for the 2022/23 Championship season were released on Thursday.

By Tom Sandells
Friday, 24th June 2022, 6:00 am

It is a season with much aniticipation, as supporters have backed their side and sold over 11,000 season tickets so far and manager Ryan Lowe is saying all of the right things to excite them.

Aside from looking for specific dates, fans will have no doubt looked out for four local clashes – those against Blackpool, Burnley, Blackburn Rovers and Wigan Athletic.

The latter host the Lilwhites on the opening day of the season, the second time in two years that PNE have faced the League One champions on the opening day having played Hull City first up last time. Not to be left out however, the Tigers are again the first home game for North End.

Preston North End's Andrew Hughes in action with Blackpool's Keshi Anderson.

PNE will be keen to keep up their form against the Seasiders, winning their last meeting. They did taste defeat earlier in the last campaign but a change of management and style since has seen that result firmly into the rear view mirror.

They will travel to Bloomfield Road nearly exactly a year after their last trip, going to the seaside on October 22 – one day earlier than in 2021. Their home fixture is also very similar, taking place on April 1 – four days earlier than in 2021.

Deepdale will play host to the first Lancashire derby when Burnley come to PR1 on September 13, with the Clarets returning the favour on February 11.

Blackburn will first be the hosts, having done the double over PNE last season, on December 10 before travelling to Deepdale on April 22. Last season, those fixtures fell on December 4 and April 25.

Christmas time will again be familiar, Huddersfield Town visit on Boxing Day, with a trip to West Bromwich Albion following shortly after on December 29. Last year, North End were due to play the Baggies on December 30 before its postponement due to Covid in the Lilywhites camp.

Stoke City will once more see the new year in with PNE, down to play on New Year’s Day, having played each other last year on January 3.

Lowe’s side will end the season against their former manager Alex Neil as he brings his Sunderland side on May 6.

The Carabao Cup first round draw was also made on Thursday, although the draw was split into north and south sections.

PNE will travel to last season’s play-off finalists Huddersfield Town, with the game to take place on August 9 or 10, two games into their Championship campaign.

The cup was a good source of game time and confidence for North End last season. They struggled to find form early in the campaign but high scoring wins against Mansfield Town, Morecambe and Cheltenham Town boosted morale in the camp.

That set up the blockbuster tie against Liverpool at Deepdale, where a packed out crowd saw their side bow out of the cup 2-0.