Preston North End boss Alex Neil expects a tough test from Wigan Athletic

Josh Windass celebrates scoring against Cardiff City on the opening day of the season
Josh Windass celebrates scoring against Cardiff City on the opening day of the season

As summers go, it has been a decent one for Wigan Athletic who make the trip up the M6 to face Preston North End at Deepdale tomorrow.

Latics beat Cardiff City 3-2 on the opening day at the DW Stadium to get their season up and running.

Before and after that win, they were pretty active in the transfer window as Paul Cook sought to freshen up a squad which had finished 18th last season after fighting a battle against relegation.

Kieffer Moore – a target of North End’s in the past – Jamal Lowe and David Marshall have been among the new arrivals in Wigan.

Hence PNE boss Alex Neil is predicting a real test from the visitors this weekend.

Neil said: “Wigan started well by winning their first game and they will come here with no fear.

“They will try and take the game to us, that is what I’m expecting.

“It will be a tough match, it is also a local derby so we will certainly have our work cut out.”

Targetman striker Moore arrived from Barnsley for £2.5m this week.

Whether he goes straight in for a debut at Deepdale or starts on the bench, remains to be seen.

The centre-forward’s role which Moore will have his eye on, was occupied by former PNE favourite Joe Garner in the win over Cardiff.

It might be that Garner’s strong performance last week earns him the chance to start against his old employers.

Garner was a PNE player from January 2013 through to his £1.8m move to Rangers in July 2016.

He scored 57 goals in that time, 27 of those coming in the 2014/15 promotion-winning season.

The striker only spent a season in Scotland and then headed for Ipswich in 2017.

After one campaign there, Garner moved back nearer to home to join Wigan.

If Garner starts, support will come from Josh Windass and Michael Jacobs in the wide positions.

Windass was a player on Preston’s radar 18 months ago while at Rangers.

They looked at both him and Billy Bodin and landed the latter in January 2018.

It was last summer that Windass headed south to Wigan for a £2m fee.

Windass was one of Wigan’s scorers last week, with Jacobs and Lee Evans on the scoresheet too as Wigan hit back from going behind.

Looking back at that game, Latics boss Cook said: “The game had everything.

“Sometimes as a manager, you count yourselves fortunate when you come out the right side of a game like that.

“There were so many incidents, so many talking points, and to take all three points against such a very strong team was massive for us.

“Like every team, we had a game-plan, and I thought we implemented it very well.

“Cardiff are a very good team with very good players.

“Whenever you go a goal down, you’d be happy to take a point.

“So to take all three points, I was absolutely delighted.”