Jordan Hugill will make his Deepdale return tonight at the third time of asking.
Preston sold the striker to West Ham United last January for a club-record £9.5m.
Injury prevented Hugill lining up against North End when the Hammers paid a visit for a pre-season friendly in July.
He was subsequently loaned to Middlesbrough but did not make their squad when Boro knocked PNE out of the League Cup in September.
But tonight’s Championship clash should see Hugill in the thick of the action.
He has found his goal touch of late, scoring in Boro’s 2-1 victory at Brentford on Saturday. Before the international break, the frontman netted both goals in a 2-0 win over Wigan.
Boro come to Lancashire in second place, unbeaten in the last seven league and cup matches.
PNE boss Alex Neil expects a real battle against them.
Neil said: Our players are going to have to come up with different solutions than they have done in the last few games.
“We are going to have to cope with the physical side of it which will be a big part of the game.
“Also we are going to have to be tactically switched on as transition in a big part of the way Boro set up – they try and nick it and hurt you when you are in possession.”