How Preston North End compare to their promotion rivals - in numbers
The Lilywhites have enjoyed a solid start to the season and they are sitting pretty in an automatic promotion spot.
Preston boss Alex Neil will be happy to see his side sat in 2nd place in the Championship table, and if the side are still sitting there at the end of the season then the Premier League awaits.
We decided to crunch the numbers to see how Preston compare to their promotion rivals so far - for a starter their home form suggests that if you are a season ticket holder at Deepdale, then you are in luck.
Check out the numbers below:
Things couldn't look any better in the attacking department, with Preston sitting alone as the top scorers in the Championship with 27 goals scored. High scoring home affairs such as the games against Barnsley and Blackburn Rovers have fired North End above the divisions big hitters, with West Bromwich Albion the closest on 26 goals scored, and other promotion contenders like Leeds United lagging way behind on 17 goals scored. The Lilywhites are scoring at an average of almost two goals per game, which can only be good.
Top scoring Championship sides: Preston: 27, West Brom: 26, QPR: 24, Fulham: 23, Bristol City: 22
Defensively Preston are doing fairly well, yet there is certainly room for improvement. So far they have conceded 16 goals in 14 Championship games which is respectable, yet in comparison Leeds United have conceded exactly half as many goals with 8 overall. Preston aren't the type of team to sit back, and with Neil's positive philosophy they will concede chances, yet the Scot will hope to see a few more clean sheets in the run-up to Christmas.
Least goals conceded: Leeds United: 8, Sheffield Wednesday: 10, Brentford/ Nottingham Forest: 12, Swansea City: 13
As you'll have noticed if you've visited Deepdale this season, Preston North End are rather impressive on their own patch. They have the best home record in the division, and on current standing it is hard to dispute that a visit to PR1 is the toughest fixture this league has to offer. Neil's side have 20 points from eight home games - interestingly mid-table Birmingham City have the next best home record with 16 points from seven games.
Top home teams: 1. Preston: 20 points (P8) 2. Birmingham City: 16 points (P7) 3. Fulham: 14 points (P7) 4. Cardiff City: 14 points (P6) 5. Millwall: 14 points (P7)
The task for Alex Neil is simple, if he can ensure that Preston's away form even slightly resembles their home form, then promotion could be well within their grasp. As things stand they sit on five points from six games, which is a way short of the form expected of a promotion chasing side. The Deepdale faithful will hope that the side can pick up more points on their travels moving forwards.
Top away teams: 1. Leeds United: 14 points (P8) 2. West Bromwich Albion: 14 points (P7) 3. Swansea City: 12 points (P6) 4. Brentford: 12 points (P8) 5. Nottingham Forest: 12 points (P7)
Perhaps predictably, relegated big spenders Fulham featured prominently in the pre-season bookies odds, as did Leeds and West Bromwich Albion, who went close last season. Preston are still going under the radar as far as the bookies are concerned, which will suit Alex Neil down to the ground. Nevertheless, the Lilywhites are now fifth favourites to clinch promotion after an impressive start.
Latest bookies odds: Leeds 4/9, West Brom 5/6, Fulham 11/10, Brentford 9/4, Preston 4/1, Swansea 4/1, Sheffield Wednesday 9/2, Nottingham Forest 8/1