Preston North End and Bristol City have plenty in common but not financially

There has been symmetry between Preston North End and Bristol City over the last six seasons and so it perhaps appropriate that they meet tonight with a similar feeling of ‘what might have been’ running through them.

By Dave Seddon
Wednesday, 22nd July 2020, 12:30 pm

The clubs came up from League One together five years ago and neither has managed to crack the Championship play-off code since then.

Both have flirted with the top six but ultimately never ended up there.

PNE make the trip to Ashton Gate in eighth place, with the Robins in 11th.

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Preston midfielder Alan Browne in action against Bristol Cityat Deepdale in September

There are three points between them, North End’s goal difference better.

Preston boss Alex Neil acknowledges how the clubs have been somewhat neck-and-neck in terms of position, however that does not apply in his eyes on the finance side of things.

Neil said: “They have spent £30m this season. “Our ambitions have been the same on the pitch with us coming up at the same time. They have gone about it in a different manner than we have done but the results have been the same.

“We have threatened to be there, they have threatened to be there.

“Unfortunately, both teams have fallen just a bit short on a few occasions.

“I’m sure Bristol City will be confident of taking that next step and hopefully we will confident of taking that next step.”

The Robins invested heavily both last summer and in January in order to push for promotion, however they did lose former PNE midfielder Josh Brownhill in the January window.

Brownhill left for Burnley in a £7m deal, PNE getting a slice of that from a sell-on clause.

Neil said: "They have a strong squad, they've spent a lot of money putting that squad together.

"They've made a few loan signings with Filip Benkovic, Pedro Pereira and Benik Afobe.

"They went for it in January in terms of recruiting and trying to add to the squad, they got Nahki Wells in."

Earlier in the month, Lee Johnson was sacked by City after the investment failed to be matched by results on the pitch.

His assistant Dean Holden stepped-up to replace him on a caretaker basis, with the search ongoing for a full-time replacement.

Rangers manager Steven Gerrard has been mentioned as their main target, Plymouth's Ryan Lowe featuring in the betting too.

Neil and Holden will need no introduction in the technical area later today.

"We did our Pro licence together over a two-year period, so we spent a lot of time together," said Neil.

"I know him well and he's a great lad."