What are the likely line-ups? Who are the key men? Sheffield United v Preston North End - All you need to know
Preston North End head to Sheffield United on Saturday hoping to kickstart their Championship season.
From likely line-ups to key men and the referee, all you need to know about Saturday's game can be found below.
PNE (4-2-3-1): Maxwell, Fisher, Clarke, Davies, Earl, Ledson, Gallagher, Barkhuizen, Browne, Barker, Robinson.
Sheffield United (3-5-2): Henderson, Basham, Egan, O’Connell, Baldock, Fleck, Norwood, Stevens, Duffy, Sharp, McGoldrick.
Alan Browne: Back ahead of schedule against Leeds, the Irishman’s energy is vital to how North End function. Honesty this week has about PNE’s plight has gained him plenty of plaudits and now needs to help the Lilywhites deliver on the field.
Oli Norwood: Has arguably been the Blades’ player of the year so far after a superb start at Bramall Lane. John Fleck, Mark Duffy and John Egan are also key men, while goalkeeper Dean Henderson has a knack of pulling off vital saves at important times.
In the home dugout
Chris Wilder: The 50-year-old has Sheffield United in his blood, having supported the Blades from childhood. After doing his apprenticeship as a player at Southampton, it was Sheffield United who gave him his break at senior level. Wilder played 93 games for them and was to return as manager in May 2016, succeeding Nigel Adkins in the Bramall Lane hotseat. In his first season in charge, he guided the Blades to the League One title. Last season Wilder had them in play-off contention until the final couple of weeks.
Scott Duncan: The Northumberland official is in charge of Preston’s visit to Sheffield United. Mr Duncan refereed three North End games last season – the 0-0 draw at Leeds, the 1-1 draw with Nottingham Forest and February’s home defeat to Ipswich. In December 2016 he was the referee who sent off PNE pair Jermaine Beckford and Eoin Doyle for fighting with one another. Mr Duncan has taken charge of eight games this season, showing 24 yellow cards and two red.
This week in PNE history
55 years ago: On September 21, 1963, Preston won 4-2 against Newcastle United at St James’ Park. Alex Dawson and Alec Ashworth both scored twice on Tyneside. They went back there four days later in the League Cup and lost 3-0.
39 years ago: North End beat Bristol Rovers 3-2 at Deepdale on September 22, 1979. Alex Bruce netted twice with Steve Elliott getting the other.
29 years ago: On September 20, 1988, Preston shared a 3-3 draw with Chester City . Tony Ellis and Mark Patterson (2) found the net at Deepdale.
15 years ago: Richard Cresswell, Ricardo Fuller, Graham Alexander (pen) and Brian O’Neil were on target in Preston’s 4-1 victory against Rotherham on September 20, 2003. EX-PNE loanee Darren Byfield scored for the Millers.