Preston’s 2016/17 season
League Position:11th (2015/16: 11th)
Average league attendance: 12,606 (2015/16: 13,035)
Top league goalscorer: Jordan Hugill (12)
Preston North End secured a second successive top-half finish in their second season in the Sky Bet Championship. The Lancashire side had spent five seasons in League One before winning promotion in 2015 – winning the Play-Off Final – and have now established themselves back in the second tier. They finished 11th in their first season back up and looked for much of last season as if they would go better in 2016/17 but a late collapse saw them slip towards the middle of the table.
Preston only won one of their first six games and looked as if they could be in relegation trouble after a 5-0 defeat at Brentford in September. But a great winter run left them on the fringe of the Play-Off places at the start of April. Between that Brentford defeat and 4 April, Preston lost just five games, and four of those were to top seven sides. However, in their last six games they picked up just one point, against already-relegated Rotherham United, and dropped to 11th.
Preston eventually finished 18 points outside the top six. Their total of 63 goals conceded was on par with many of the bottom six but the 64 they scored was more than promoted Huddersfield Town. There were also some memorable cup moments for Preston. They faced Arsenal in the FA Cup Third Round and had the lead at half time before losing to a late goal. They also knocked AFC Bournemouth out of the EFL Cup.
Sir Tom Finney Way
Simon Grayson is one of the longest serving managers in the Sky Bet Championship and one of the most experienced. The 47-year-old has been in charge at Deepdale for almost four-and-a-half years and has taken the Lancashire side in the second tier. He kept Preston up when they looked in some relegation trouble in League One in 2013 and then led them to the Play-Offs in the following two seasons, winning promotion the second time. He has now taken them to consecutive top half finishes in the second tier.
Grayson is a man with several promotion successes on his CV. He first went in the management at Blackpool in 2005 when he was still playing and in his first full season in charge, 2006/07, he led them to promotion from League One. Blackpool were secure in the Championship when he left to take over at Leeds United. He reached the League One Play-Offs with Leeds in his first half-season and then took them up a year later before a seventh-placed finished in the second tier. He was sacked and then moved to Huddersfield Town where he won promotion via the Play-Offs in 2012. He was sacked by The Terriers in early 2013 and soon took over at Preston.
Last Time Round
Head to Head
Brentford wins: 21
Preston wins: 19