Vital Football

Opponents in focus - Preston

Opponents in focus - Preston

Preston North End were founded in the year 1881, one of the earliest teams formed. They were one of the members which founded the English Football League in 1888 and were the first ever champions of English.

But now times have changed from being the top side in England and they now find their selves in the 2nd tier of English football under the guidance of boss Darren Ferguson, who will be looking for Preston to improve on last season's disappointing 17th-place finish in his first full season at the club. Due to this poor finish by Preston's high standards in the championship Darren Ferguson, the son United manager Alex Ferguson, has looked to change his squad drastically and due to this the Deepdale has seen many comings and goings over this transfer window, centre-backs Craig Morgan and Wayne Brown have signed from Peterborough and Leicester respectively, while midfielder Matthew James has arrived on a season-long loan from Manchester United. Also, Ross Wallace, Neil Collins and Michael Hart have all left, while Neil Mellor and Eddie Nolan have been sent out on loan. With many changes Darren Ferguson would hope for a drastic change in where they are standing in the Championship table at the end of the season.

Head to Head:
Pompey in their 112 year history have meet Preston 63 and their record against them could be considered poor as they have only a 25%, loosing 30, drawing 17 and winning 16 games against them. The last time these to sides met was in an FA cup tie on 17th February which Pompey won 1-0 at the Deepdale where Pompey needed a stroke of luck to get through as Darren Carter put the ball in the back of his own net in the dying seconds. This luck helped Pompey go on and win the trophy that season.

League standing last 5 years:
2009/10 - 17th Championship
2008/09 - 6th Championship
2007/08 - 15th Championship
2006/07 - 7th Championship
2005/06 - 4th Championship

Fixture Dates:
Preston v Pompey: Saturday, August 21
Pompey v Preston: Saturday, April 9

Man in Charge:
Darren Ferguson, the man who will always be known for his dads achievements in management, but I'm sure he's trying to change this and lead Preston to greater things. He spent his earlier career playing professional football playing for clubs such as United, Wolves and ended his career at Peterborough, which was the beginning of a whole new career, management. He has thus far had a very successful career as he led Peterborough to a 10th placed finish in his first season of management. In his first full season of management, he took Peterborough to second place in League Two, gaining promotion. He was named League Two manager of the month for March 2008, after Peterborough won six games out of eight in the month.

In his second full season, 2008-09, he led Peterborough to second place and automatic promotion to the Championship. He has also won the League One Manager of the Month award for March 2009, following six straight wins. Ferguson left Peterborough in November 2009, by mutual consent, with Posh bottom of the table. But within a month he was already back in the game after various job offers. He felt that Preston was the right club for him and it was a fresh challenge. Ferguson struggled in his first season in charge finishing 17th.

Key Player:
Sean St Ledger is an English-born, Republic of Ireland international who plays as a central back for Preston. Like Ferguson he played for Peterborough, this is where St Ledger began his career. In July 2006 St Ledger signed for Preston North End on a three year contract for a fee of £225,000. In September 2009 he joined Middlesbrough on an initial three month loan deal with a view to a permanent transfer in the January transfer window, however after failing to settle in the north east and a fall-out with Manager Gordon Strachan, the move was not made permanent and St Ledger returned to Preston. He has proven influential for both club and country and he recently declared himself for Ireland made his debut on the 6th of June 2009 in a qualifying game for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, a 1-1 draw away to Bulgaria. St Ledger scored his first goal for Ireland in a 2-2 draw with Italy at Croke Park, Dublin, in a World Cup qualifier in October 2009.

Stadium:
The Deepdale was built in 1860 and is the oldest continually-used site for league football in the world and of all the founder members, Preston and Burnley F.C. are the only teams still playing at their original grounds. But of course it has been redeveloped a lot since it first opened in 1860 with the most recent redevelopment being in 2008 increasing the capacity to what it is today, 23,408. The recent redevelopment includes a row of executive boxes and a restaurant which overlooks the pitch as well as the security box.

Written by PFC-Jono.

The views within this article are the views of the individual who wrote and submitted this piece, sometimes solely theirs. They are not necessarily shared by the Vital Pompey Site Journalists.

Opponents in focus: Barnsley FC - here.
Opponents in focus: Bristol City - here.
Opponents in focus: Burnley - here.
Opponents in focus: Cardiff - here.
Opponents in focus: Coventry - here.
Opponents in focus: Crystal Palace - here.
Opponents in focus: Derby - here.
Opponents in focus: Doncaster - here.
Opponents in focus: Hull - here.
Opponents in focus: Ipswich - here.
Opponents in focus: Leeds - here.
Opponents in focus: Leicester - here.
Opponents in focus: Middlesbrough - here.
Opponents in focus: Millwall - here.
Opponents in focus: Norwich - here.
Opponents in focus: Nottingham Forest - here.

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Writer:PFC-Jono
Date:Thursday August 5 2010
Time: 10:00AM

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