It’s back! The new Championship season gets underway on Saturday as Preston host QPR at Deepdale.
From likely line-ups to key men, all you need to know about the opening-day fixture can be found below.
PNE (4-2-3-1): Rudd, Fisher, Huntington, Davies, Hughes, Pearson, Browne, Barkhuizen, Harrop, Robinson, Moult.
QPR (4-3-3): Ingram, Kakay, Leistner, Lynch, Bidwell, Luongo, Scowen, Freeman, Eze, Smith, Osayi-Samuel.
Louis Moult: There is business still to be done up top but with Sean Maguire out, plenty of focus will be on PNE’s new No.9. Having settled properly, fans will be hoping he can find form that made him such a hot property during his time at Motherwell.
Luke Freeman: The creative spark for QPR in midfield. Superb work rate and his turn of pace in middle of park helps make him a threat. It’s little wonder the likes of Middlesbrough and West Brom are chasing him.
In the visiting dugout
Steve McClaren: Former England manager Steve McClaren is the new man at the Queens Park Rangers helm. McClaren got the job in May, replacing Ian Holloway –– this a return to English football after a spell as coaching consultant with Israeli club Maccabi Tel Aviv. Since leaving the England job in 2007, the 57-year-old has managed Twente, Wolfsburg, Nottingham Forest, Derby County (twice) and Newcastle. McClaren signed a two-year contract with QPR and will be looking to push them on from mid-table.
Darren England: The Barnsley official is in charge of Preston’s opener against Queens Park Rangers at Deepdale on Saturday. Last season he took charge of three PNE games – the 0-0 draw at Middlesbrough, October’s 2-2 draw at Fulham and the 1-1 draw against Aston Villa at Villa Park. In May, Mr England took charge of the League Two play-off final between Coventry and Exeter at Wembley. He also refereed the League Two final the year before.
This week in PNE history
14 years ago: Preston got the 2005/06 season off to a winning start, beating Watford 2-1 at Vicarage Road. David Nugent and Dickson Etuhu were on target on August 6, 2005.
5 years ago: North End made a more than pleasing start to the 2013/14 campaign with two good results in a little more than 48 hours. After sharing a goalless draw with title favourites Wolves on August 3, 2013, Preston welcomed arch-rivals Blackpool to Deepdale on Monday, August 5, in the League Cup. Tom Clarke scored the game’s only goal in the 87th minute, heading home a free-kick from Lee Holmes.
1 year ago: Daniel Johnson’s penalty gave the Lilywhites a 1-0 opening-day victory over Sheffield Wednesday.