What are the likely line-ups? Who are the key men? Reading v Preston - All you need to know

Preston head to Reading on Saturday looking to reignite their play-off push.

Friday, 6th April 2018, 9:31 pm
Updated Friday, 6th April 2018, 9:46 pm
Sean Maguire in action during the meeting between the sides at Deepdale earlier in the season.

From likely line-ups to key men and the referee, all you need to know about the crunch Championship clash is below.

Likely line-ups

Reading - Mannone, Gunter, Ilori, Moore, Blackett, van den Berg, Bacuna, Swift, Aluko, Barrow, Bodvarsson

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Preston - Maxwell, Fisher, Huntington, Davies, Cunningham, Pearson, Gallagher, Barkhuizen, Browne, Robinson, Maguire.

Key Men

John Swift - Former Chelsea youngster is Reading’s main creative source and when he plays well, the Royals generally do. His long time out injured goes some way to explaining lowly league position. Scored on opening day of last season against PNE.

Callum Robinson - On a frustrating day for Alex Neil’s side against Derby, Robinson looked lively in the final third. Started from the left but also played down the middle, something he has increasingly enjoyed in a season where he has taken time to establish himself.

In the opposing dugout

Paul Clement - The 46-year-old is new to the Reading manager’s job, succeeding Jaap Stam during the recent international break. Clement was available to take the job having been sacked by Swansea in December after a poor run of results. Prior to managing Swansea, he was in charge at Derby County. Before getting his chance as a manager, Clement was assistant to Carlo Ancelotti at Chelsea, Paris St Germain and Real Madrid. He also had a brief spell at Blackburn under Steve Kean.

The referee

Andrew Madley - The West Yorkshire official is in the middle for Preston’s visit to Reading on Saturday. He also took charge of the reverse fixture at Deepdale in August. Mr Madley has frequently refereed PNE games in the last few seasons, including the play-off final win over Swindon at Wembley in May 2015. Last week he took charge of his first Premier League game, overseeing Watford’s 2-2 draw with Bournemouth. He is being tipped to join the top-flight list next season.

This week in PNE history

60 years ago: On April 7, 1958, Preston beat Blackpool 2-1 at Deepdale in a First Division game at Deepdale. Tommy Thompson and Sammy Taylor got the goals in front of a crowd of 32,626.

31 years ago: Preston won 2-0 against Rochdale at Spotland on April 7, 1987, to push them closer to promotion. Gary Brazil and Peter Zelem were on target – centre-back Zelem’s only goal for PNE.

25 years ago: On April 6, 1993, PNE drew 2-2 with Port Vale at Vale Park. Liam Watson and Tony Ellis found the net. They lost goalkeeper Simon Farnworth to injury with winger Gareth Ainsworth having to go in goal.

22 years ago: A Paul Birch goal gave promotion-chasing North End a 1-0 victory over Doncaster on April 6, 1996.