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PNE in Numbers: Life on the road with the Lilywhites

PNE fans have followed their side in good numbers this season
PNE fans have followed their side in good numbers this season

A feature of this season for Preston North End has been the excellent away support.

More often than not, win, lose or draw on the road you leave a ground thinking of the efforts put in by those travelling fans.

No more was that in evidence than at Sunderland last Saturday.

Some 2,277, the third biggest following of the season, were at the Stadium of Light to witness the 2-0 win over Chris Coleman’s lowly Black Cats.

That’s some effort considering the awful weather conditions that we all experienced heading to and from the North East.

It came hot on the heels of a more straightforward journey for the largest support of the season.

Despite the ticket prices Gentry Day saw 3,947 take their place in the away end at Bolton to celebrate a come-from-behind win with the returning Sean Maguire amongst others.

On average, 1,347 North End fans have been out on the road for each game this season, that figure including the cup trips to Accrington, Wycombe and Sheffield United.

While Bolton brought the biggest support of the season the lower figures by and large make sense.

At the bottom is the 372 who were at Cardiff for the Friday night game at Cardiff between Christmas and New Year, perfectly understandable.

Others are the 375 at Bristol City, a long way on a Tuesday night, and Ipswich, 435, and Norwich, 454, both really lengthy trips.

The 697 for the opening league away game of the season at Leeds stands out and was largely down to the hefty cost.

That thinking is backed up by the fact 2,659 made the trip to Sheffield United in the FA Cup, the second biggest of the campaign, the Blades having reduced the prices for the fourth round tie.

In general the numbers are growing though, perhaps reflecting Alex Neil’s side going from strength to strength in their push for the play-offs.

You certainly wouldn’t bet against North End fans heading to Hillsborough in their thousands when the Lilywhites return to action at Sheffield Wednesday on Good Friday.

PNE have also picked up more points on the road than at Deepdale this season, 32 as opposed to 28.

The club will be hoping to up the numbers on home soil, the current average being 13,706, which doesn’t seem to quite correlate to such a strong away following.