For the third straight season it looks like a late collapse will cost Preston North End their shot at the Sky Bet Championship Play-Offs.
In late February, Preston sat 6th, with a three point cushion to seventh. However, three straight defeats heading into the season's pause, and a four game winless run on the resumption, threatened to unravel their season rapidly. They did stop that slide with a 3-1 win at Sheffield Wednesday a week ago but the weekend's draw with Nottingham Forest means they are ninth heading into tonight's game, five points off the top six with three to play.
Only Barnsley (18) have scored fewer goals on the road than North End (19) this term but defensively they have been solid, conceding just 23 in 21 away games.
Daniel Johnson (pictured above) is their top scorer with 12 with Tom Barkhuizen (9) and Paul Gallagher (6) the only other men with more than five goals to their name this term.
Alex Neil joined Preston North End in July 2017 to manage his second Sky Bet Championship club at the age of just 36.
Neil has already enjoyed success as a manager, winning promotion on two occasions, most notably to the Premier League with Norwich City in 2015.
Neil's career as manager follows a playing career that saw him win the Scottish Football League First Division in 2008 while at Hamilton Academical, before taking the role of player-manager at the club.
During his playing career, Neil also represented Barnsley and Mansfield Town before making his move to Hamilton in 2005, where he spent ten years.
Last season he led North End to a 14th-placed finish, having narrowly missed out on the Play-Offs during his first season in charge.
Despite the intense fixture schedule, Thomas has no major issues to worry about heading into tonight's game.
It's not the same situation for North End who have major concerns over key players. Ben Davies is out with a hamstring nick while Ben Pearson was withdrawn at half-time on Saturday with a knee issue. Alan Browne (calf) missed that game completely with Patrick Bauer completing the 90 despite a tight hamstring.
🆚 Ian Seddon of the Lancashire Evening Post previews tonight's game
⚖ Darren England will be the man in charge tonight
OLLIE WATKINS PRESS CONFERENCE
HOW TO FOLLOW
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Match Passes are also available for the game against North End.
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