H&W midfielder takes Stock of PNE

Ex-Deepdale man Brian Stock
Ex-Deepdale man Brian Stock
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Midfield maestro Brian Stock is bidding to upset his former club Preston North End tonight.

The 32-year-old midfielder will line up against PNE for new club Havant and Waterlooville in the FA Cup first round at West Leigh Park (kick-off 8pm).

Stock joined North End at the beginning of 2006 when he was signed by Billy Davies, initially on loan, from Bournemouth.

However, his stay at PNE proved to be a short one – he made just eight appearances before being off-loaded to Doncaster Rovers in September of the same year.

Having enjoyed a six year stint at the Keepmoat Stadium,where he became something of a club legend, Stock joined Burnley and helped them win promotion to the Premier League.

He was not offered a new deal by the Clarets in the summer and decided to return to his native south coast.

He is currently persuing business interests while playing part-time football for the Hawks.

The Conference South side have some fond memories of the FA Cup, none more so than taking the lead twice against Liverpool at Anfield in 2008.

They have won three rounds to get to this stage of the competition and Stock believes he and his team-mates have nothing to fear this evening.

Lee Bradbury’s side, who are riding high in the Conference South table, are huge underdogs against the Lilywhites, who sit second in League One.

But Stock believes the very nature of cup competitions means the Hawks can head into the tie with nothing to lose. It is that mindset he feels that can help to pose Preston problems in front of the BT Sport cameras.

Stock said: “We’ve played really well in recent weeks to put ourselves in a good position in the league.

“We’ll go into the game full of confidence and with nothing to lose.

“As long as we don’t get nervous and we handle the occasion then we have nothing to fear.”

Stock, though, is certainly not underestimating North End. Having played for the Lilywhites, he is only too aware of the stature of the club.

And in striker Joe Garner, who has scored 11 goals in 18 appearances this season, he believes the visitors have a potent goal threat that will need to be snuffed out.

He said: “Preston)are a very good side and have some very good players.

“Joe Garner I have played against many times and you wouldn’t think it but he’s really good in the air.

“He scores a lot of goals with his head so he is going to be a threat.”

Former Manchester City and Portsmouth striker Bradbury expects to have a near full-strength squad to choose from.

Winger Nic Ciardini misses out due to suspension while top scorer JJ Hooper will lead the attack after notching 11 goals in 14 matches.

Bradbury believes his men can juts goi out and enjoy themselves tonight.

“We are striving to do well in the league, but this is a nice distraction.

“There is no pressure on the lads, most people are expecting Preston to win.

“We’ve had a clear week and will have trained three times since we last played. Being on the TV definitely raises the profile of the game and will give the players a new experience.

“It’s exciting for us to go and play a team which is second in League One.

“When else are we going to be do that?

“It’s great for our players to test themselves against good players and it’s also good for me as a manager.

“I want to come up against good managers.”