Preston North End hold the record for the number of league games played

Joe Rafferty holds off Sam Gallagher in Preston's clash with Blackburn which was PNE's 4,987th league game
Joe Rafferty holds off Sam Gallagher in Preston's clash with Blackburn which was PNE's 4,987th league game

Preston North End now hold the record for the most league games played in English football.

Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Blackburn Rovers was the 4,987th league game the Lilywhites had played.

It pulled them clear of Notts County who are currently in the National League after being relegated at the end of last season.

As things stand, North End are on course to play their 5,000th league game against Derby County at Deepdale on March 21.

The reason it has taken PNE until now to catch up and overtake Notts County, is because of how the divisions used to be arranged.

Before the Premier League was formed in 1992, the Football League had four divisions.

The First and Second Divisions had 22 teams each, with there being 24 teams in both the Third and Fourth Divisions.

North End being in the top two divisions for longer than the Magpies saw them play fewer games.

It was perhaps appropriate that PNE got the record with the visit to Ewood Park.

Blackburn were fellow founder members of the Football League. PNE’s first league game against Rovers came on December 29, 1888, with them winning 1-0 at Deepdale.

A fortnight later on January 12, 1889, the sides shared a 2-2 draw in Blackburn.

In that first season of the Football League, North End beat Notts County 7-0 away and 4-1 at home.

Game number 4,988 will come against Charlton at Deepdale on Saturday.

North End will be hoping to use the 1-1 draw at Blackburn as something to build on going into the Addicks’ visit.

Alex Neil’s men have lost their last three matches at Deepdale – against Reading and Middlesbrough in the Championship and Norwich in the FA Cup.

Until the start of December, North End had been unbeaten in the league at Deepdale.

Charlton will have Andre Green in their squad on Saturday, the winger who was on loan with Preston for the first half of the season.

After limited use by PNE, he was recalled by Aston Villa and loaned to the South London outfit.

Charlton have lost the services of midfielder Conor Gallagher who has been recalled by Chelsea.