Preston North End fans' 15-year wait for visit to Luton Town's Kenilworth Road ground

‘We got there in the end’ should be the motto adopted by the Preston North End fans who make the trip to Luton Town on Wednesday night.

By Dave Seddon
Monday, 14th March 2022, 12:30 pm

It will be the first time in more than 15 years that PNE supporters have been in the Kenilworth Road’s away stand.

Thirteen years of that gap was down to the sides being in different divisions but then the Covid pandemic intervened for the last couple of years.

Two years ago today (March 14), North End were due to travel to Bedfordshire to face the Hatters.

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Preston North End will visit Luton Town's Kenilworth Road ground on Wednesday night

Their away allocation had sold out but the day before, all EFL and Premier League games were postponed due to Covid.

Initially the season was put on hold for three weeks but the pause in play turned into more than three months.

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North End’s first re-start game in June 2020 was at Luton, the start of the grim and sterile behind closed doors era which continued for the best part of 18 months.

Preston North End's re-start game was against Luton Town in June 2020

That clash ended in a 1-1 draw, Scott Sinclair giving PNE the lead before Luton equalised late on.

Last season, they were beaten 3-0 there.

The game in December 2020 was not played fully behind closed doors, Luton allowed to have 2,000 home fans there as the town fell in a Tier 2 area during Government restrictions. But no away supporters were allowed in.

That approach lasted little more than a couple of weeks before an upsurge in Covid cases saw the country enter another lockdown and the turnstiles locked everywhere – although football games did continue.

On Wednesday evening, there will at last be an open door to the travelling PNE faithful at Kenilworth Road, an old-school ground tucked away between rows of houses.

The midweek scheduling of the game and the distance involved means it won’t be the largest of followings behind Ryan Lowe’s side.

But it should be several hundred strong before North End head into a two-and-a-half-week break in action.

The derby with Blackpool was originally scheduled for this Saturday (March 19) but moved to April 5 because of the Conservative Party spring conference being held in the seaside resort – all police resources are needed there.

Then there is the fortnight’s international break before action resumes at Derby County on Saturday, April 2.