Preston North End manager excited about facing Blackpool at a packed Deepdale

Ryan Lowe wants the packed house for Preston North End’s clash with Blackpool tonight to be a sign of things to come.

By Dave Seddon
Tuesday, 5th April 2022, 8:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 5th April 2022, 9:48 am

Derby day is finally here after weeks of talking about it, the fact it is taking place on what would have been Sir Tom Finney’s 100th birthday adding even more to the occasion.

In terms of league position it might only be a mid-table Championship game but at stake is so much more to the supporters of both clubs, hence it not being far from a sell-out.

For North End there is the incentive of putting things right after the bitter disappointment of defeat at Bloomfield Road last October, of reclaiming the bragging rights after five months of them being held at the other end of the M55.

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Preston North End manager Ryan Lowe

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This is PNE manager Lowe’s first experience of this derby and it’s an occasion he’s looking forward to, with the big attendance an eye-catcher for him.

Lowe told the Lancashire Post: “We want to bring full houses back to Deepdale. Crowds haven’t gone up as much as I would have liked but that is down to the results in games.

"If we were in the play-off positions around now, Deepdale would be packed every other week. It is no coincidence that when teams win games of football and are fighting for something, fans will come in their numbers.

Preston North End defender Sepp van den Berg holds off Derby County's Jason Knight

"We want that to happen here, I’m really looking forward to seeing a packed Deepdale and sampling that atmosphere.”

North End supporters will display two giant surfer flags before the game, the PNE Online forum having raised £6,000 in donations to have them professionally designed and made.

One features an image of Sir Tom, a legend of the game who was a proud one-club man, Preston born and bred.

Lowe will make changes from the defeat at Derby County, with Liam Lindsay starting a two-game ban for his red card.

Sepp van den Berg and Brad Potts are likely to return after being rested at Pride Park – Van den Berg coming on as sub after Lindsay’s dismissal.

After starting with three strikers last Saturday, Lowe will probably narrow it down to two up front.

There could be a recall for Greg Cunningham after a near two-month absence with a calf strain, should PNE revert to wing-backs.

In terms of defeat to Blackpool in the away game, Lowe wants it consigned to the past.

Lowe said: “I wasn’t here then so I’ll leave it as something which happened before I came.

"I don’t think it would be fair to trawl through everyone’s past performances.

"I’m aware of what the scoreline was there but I haven’t asked in detail about it.

"One thing I do know is that it wasn’t good enough on the day, that’s all I need to know.

"In this game we have to play with fire in the belly but with a cool head as well. It’s important we stick to the game plan and concentrate on playing good football.”