PNE in Numbers: Rare daylight trip to Nottingham Forest

Billy Bodin's only PNE goal so far came at Forest in January
Billy Bodin's only PNE goal so far came at Forest in January

The default setting on the EFL’s fixture computer is to send Preston North End to Nottingham Forest during the evening.

So for some of the PNE fans who venture to the East Midlands for the clash with Aitor Karanka’s side, it will be their first sight of the City Ground in daylight.

Of North End’s last 10 league and cup away days at Forest, nine have been played in midweek. The exception was the trip in 2009 – indeed it was a Saturday but it got moved to a 5.30pm kick-off for television.

You have to go all the way back to November 2001 to find the last Forest v Preston Saturday 3pm kick-off.

An early season trip in 2002 started the night trend and the following year, Pawel Abbot made it a Wednesday to remember by scoring the Lilywhites’ winner.

Until PNE’s 3-0 win there in January – on a Tuesday night of course – they hadn’t come away with three points in the meantime.

There was briefly hope of a Saturday visit in January 2014 when the sides came out of the hat together in the FA Cup fourth round.

Yet it got switched to the Friday evening as Notts County had a league game on the Saturday.

Although North End went from 2003 to 2018 between wins on Forest’s turf, their record there isn’t bad. They’ve had six draws there, including the 0-0 in the FA Cup, since 2001.

One which springs to mind was the 2-2 draw in February 2011 during the stewardship of Phil Brown.

Billy Jones popped up at the far post in injury time to head home the equaliser.

Off came the full-back’s shirt in celebration which earned him a yellow card and put him one caution away from a two-game ban.

A memorable City Ground visit on a Saturday, but not for the right reasons, came in November 2000.

Referee Barry Knight sent off Graham Alexander and Colin Murdock, Grezza’s red card coming as early as the 12th minute.

David Moyes was not a happy bunny, the North End boss of the day clambering into the stand at the final whistle in an attempt to get the attention of the referee’s assessor.

This January’s win came thanks to goals from Billy Bodin, Tom Barkzhuizen and Daniel Johnson.

Bodin’s first-half opener is his only goal to date in PNE colours.

It came just three weeks after his £500,000 switch from Bristol Rovers.

Obviously the wait for more goals from the winger is on hold as he works his way back to fitness after surgery to repair a ruptured cruciate ligament he suffered during a training session in July.