Preston North End in Numbers: Midweek games to pose new problem

The fixtures for the upcoming season have been released but it’s still far from normality for all involved.

By Tom Sandells
Saturday, 22nd August 2020, 12:30 pm

This would normally be the time where fans pick out the games they definitely want to go to, have a look at how much travelling will cost and a room overnight.

That’s just not possible in current circumstances and has taken a bit of a gloss off what is normally a day of excitement.

With the announcement of fixtures, there was a statement from advisor to the owner Peter Ridsdale.

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PNE boss Alex Neil

Expect clarification on season tickets by the end of next week, working on the assumption that Cardiff City at home on October 17 is where a limited amount of fans could return to Deepdale.

Other standout dates include the two games against Blackburn, which will take place in November and February, the latter taking place at Ewood Park having the chance of fans being present.

Of the scheduling though, the midweek games stand out. With squads being reduced, in some cases, to 25 managing players and their game time could prove key this campaign.

PNE have midweek fixtures against QPR, Reading, Bournemouth, Middlesbrough, Watford and Millwall – as it stands.

That is before Sky decide to change any dates to televise the games, although their darlings Leeds United are now in the promised land so they are likely to pick a new favourite in the Championship.

Preston won’t be going down to the game and back on the same day, but that is still a lot of interruption and travelling to take place during the week.

Alex Neil likes to put his first team through the motions during the week to keep them ticking over whilst training the rest harder, that’s all going to be interrupted with such long trips.

In terms of round trips, that adds up to over 2,500 miles taking place midweek.

With a squad liable to a personnel crisis at times, the 25 man squad could quickly become more and more stretched.

A demolition at the hands of eventually relegated Hull showed what can happen when PNE are light on numbers, with Ryan Ledson filling in at right and left-back.

Although the midweek games mentioned are well spread out through the season, we could see a knock-on effect occur.