Preston North End’s opponents Huddersfield Town have a very different battle on their hands
When Preston North End cross the Pennines in search of a result to revive their fading play-off hopes, they will face a Huddersfield Town side in need of the points at the other end of the table.
The Terriers are in a battle to avoid a second successive relegation, having dropped out of the Premier League after two seasons.
They gave their chances a big kick in the right direction with a 3-0 win at Birmingham on Wednesday evening.
Such a resounding victory saw them climb out of the bottom four after a difficult restart to the season.
They had lost their first two games, beaten 2-0 at home by Wigan before losing 3-1 at Nottingham Forest last Sunday.
There is still work for them to do but putting three points on the board was a big relief for Terriers manager Danny Cowley.
“It was a good performance, but it doesn’t make you a good team,” said Cowley.
“To be a good team, you have to do it consistently and that is the challenge now.
“We’re certainly not going to over-celebrate – we’re pleased to perform well, we’ve taken a lot of criticism as a group and most of it has been fair.
“When you’re in a difficult moment, you learn a lot about yourselves.
“It’s easy to stand tall when things are going well, it’s much more difficult to do that in adversity and we did that at Birmingham.
“We’ve now got six very important matches, it’s very tight at the bottom of the league and everyone at the bottom is winning which often happens in leagues when you get to this time in the season.
“We’re not getting ahead of ourselves. We know that there is a lot of hard work still to be done.
“Now, we have to turn our focus really quickly to Preston.”
Huddersfield’s goals at Birmingham came from Karlan Grant, Fraizer Campbell and Elias Kachunga.
Grant’s goal was his 18th in the league and he is regarded as one of the division’s best frontmen.
Campbell was a player who PNE spoke to last summer about a move to Deepdale.
A free agent at the time having left Hull, the striker chose to join home-town club Huddersfield.
Wednesday night’s win was Campbell’s first game back after the restart, so too fellow striker Steve Mounie.
Cowley was delighted to be able to name them both on the teamsheet.
“Having Frazier back was huge, we felt that as a group,” said Cowley.
“I thought he was exceptional and fully deserving of his goal.
“It was great to have Steve Mounie back as well.
“We were able to get a much better balance.”
PNE were 3-1 winners in the reverse clash at Deepdale in November, that keeping them in second place.
Jayden Stockley, Alan Browne and Paul Gallagher (penalty) were on target, with Junior Bacuna netting a consolation goal.