Preston North End’s record 5,000th league match will have a national TV audience

Preston North End’s historic 5,000th league game will be played against a completely different backdrop than planned but will have a national audience.

Tuesday, 9th June 2020, 8:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 9th June 2020, 8:53 am

The Lilywhites’ clash with Derby County sees them hit the milestone number – the first English club to play 5,000 league matches.

It was due to be played in March but the suspension of the season saw the celebrations put on hold.

Now it will be played at Deepdale on Wednesday, July 1, with a 5pm kick-off time. Sky Sports will broadcast it live.

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Derby boss Phillip Cocu with PNE manager Alex Neil – the pair will lock horns again on July 1

The EFL yesterday released the fixture schedule for the resumption of the season behind closed doors.

Clubs will be eased back into action to some degree, with a week between their first two fixtures.

But the second weekend fixture will be the first of eight games squeezed into a period of 26 days.

PNE restart at Luton a week on Saturday (June 20) with the trip to Kenilworth Road having a 3pm kick-off.

The following Saturday they host Cardiff City at Deepdale and will kick off at 12.30pm for live coverage on Sky.

Then comes the Derby clash with the midweek teatime start time.

On Saturday, July 4, North End head to Huddersfield, then they cross the Pennines again on July 7 to tackle Sheffield Wednesday at Hillsborough. PNE host Nottingham Forest on Saturday, July 11, and then make a Tuesday night trip to Brentford (July 14).

The final home game of the regular campaign is against Birmingham on July 18, with the final game at Bristol City on Wednesday, July 22.

Dates and kick-off times beyond the Derby game are subject to change. Sky have only released their coverage details until July 2 and further matches will be chosen for broadcast.

Certainly North End’s games with Brentford and Nottingham Forest could be potential choices with them all vying for play-off slots.

The week’s break between the opening two games of the resumption has been designed after some clubs voiced concern at doing too much, too soon.

It is understood that PNE favoured a quicker start, with a midweek game in between so that a clear midweek would have come later in the schedule.

On the fitness front, North End striker Jayden Stockley resumed training yesterday after self-isolating following a positive Covid-19 test.

The second player who returned a positive test last week – the club have not named him for medical confidentiality reasons – will return to training later in the week.