Preston might have had the advantage over Bristol City in the last few years but Alex Neil is taking nothing for granted ahead of Saturday’s visit to Ashton Gate.
The Lilywhites have won their last five games against the Robins and are unbeaten in eight against them.
But when it comes to the clubs’ respective starts to this season, Lee Johnson’s men are out in front.
They sit in 12th place ahead of PNE’s visit, just four points behind the play-off pace.
“It will be a tough game, that is what I’m expecting,” said North End boss Neil.
“Bristol City have lost their last two but I have watched quite a lot of their games this year because they have been playing opposition who we are soon playing.
“I think they have played some really good football.
“They have lost some lads who were sold for big money as well, so I think they will be quite pleased with how they have started.”
The big-money sales which Neil references were the exits of Bobby Reid, Aden Flint, Joe Bryan and Iceland defender Hordur Magnusson.
Reid went to Cardiff City for £10m and centre-half Flint to Middlesbrough for £7m.
Bryan was sold to Fulham for £6m and Magnusson went to Russian side CSKA Moscow.
But funds were reinvested in the squad, Adam Webster costing £3.5m from Ipswich and Andreas Weimann came from Derby for big money.
Hakeeb Adelakun, Jack Hunt, Mohamed Eisa, Niki Maenpaa, Tomas Kalas and Jay de Silva were the other signings – the latter two on loan from Chelsea.
Said Neil: “Bristol City do invest and do put some money into their team but there are some giants in this league.
“While a club might invest ‘X’ amount in their squad, there will be another able to invest a bigger amount.
“They have made a good solid start, they have some good young players and have a clear pattern of how Lee wants to work and how he wants them to play.
“Bristol City have got their foundations there, they have got their training ground, have invested in players and they are not afraid to spend cash.
“The big striker (Famara Diedhieu) they have up front they invested a lot of money in.
“But equally when it comes to investment, that doesn’t automatically get you into the top six.”
Weimann is City’s leading scorer, the Austrian frontman having scored five goals.
Diedhieu and former PNE midfielder Josh Brownhill have netted three each.
Brownhill has emerged as a key figure in City’s midfield since his move from Preston.
The Robins’ campaign has been somewhat up and down, explaining their position in mid-table.
They did not win their first three league games and exited the League Cup but then went on a run of four victories.
A sequence of five winless matches followed, before they beat Brentford and Hull City back to back.
Their last two outings saw a 1-0 home defeat to Stoke and a 3-2 loss at Reading.