Dave Seddon’s Preston North End Press View: Big night in store against Man City at Deepdale

A capacity crowd watched the FA Cup visit of Arsenal in 2017
A capacity crowd watched the FA Cup visit of Arsenal in 2017

Deepdale will host its first crowd above 20,000 for more than two-and-a-half years when Preston take on Manchester City on Tuesday evening.

It will be great to see the ground as full as the various safety limits allow and all we need now is a cup upset to make it a night to remember.

There was much debate when the draw was made last month as to whether it would be a sell-out.

Once it wasn’t chosen for live television broadcast, was there really any doubt?

City have always travelled in good numbers – I think back to their visit in 1999 in what is now League One and they sold out their allocation that day.

While attendances for North End’s Championship matches have been on the disappointing side these last couple of years, a decent cup draw always has the potential to get folk through the turnstiles. Arsenal’s visit in the FA Cup in January 2017, drew a crowd of 22,158.

In February 2015 when Manchester United came to town, the attendance was 21,348.

There have been crowds above 20,000 in the league, those in the same season when Arsenal were here.

The October 2016 clash with Newcastle was seen by 20,724, while the defeat to Leeds a couple of months later drew a 21,255 crowd.

Last season, the 4-1 win over Blackburn attracted a 19,912 crowd, with 19,126 there to see the 1-1 draw with Aston Villa.

The hope is that some of those at Deepdale for the City game can be tempted back on a more regular basis.

No one is expecting a few thousand of them to flood the ticket office ahead of the Bristol City game next week but some returning would be good for the atmosphere, the bank balance and indeed the long-term health of the club.

Fans are being urged to make the most of Deepdale being full for the clash with Pep Guardiola’s men.

On Twitter there has been a determined effort by a fan account to try and recreate the atmosphere we used to have in the old Town End.

Ticker-tape, balloons, flags, a good spread of fans wearing white home shirts – that sort of thing.

Great idea. If it is going to be a full house, it might as well be noisy.

A decent atmosphere might just tempt some fans to make a return trip.

Arriving as Premier League winners two seasons running and holders of the League Cup, to say City will be formidable opponents is an understatement to say the very least.

Even if Guardiola makes a number of changes, he has a squad brimming with talent and quality.

Last season in this round of the competition against Oxford, Guardiola picked David Silva, Gabriel Jesus, Phil Foden and Riyad 
Mahrez among others – he even brought on Raheem Sterling as a 55th-minute substitute.

Let’s hope for a cracker of a game and an atmosphere to match.