Sunday’s early Championship fixture is between Preston North End and Cardiff City. Both clubs have four points from their opening four games prior to the international break.
Preston come into this match after a fantastic 4-2 win away at Brentford, while Cardiff held a free scoring Blackburn at Ewood Park last time out. Preston currently sit in 14th place whilst Cardiff are 16th.
Last season’s fixture saw the Bluebirds win 3-1 as they made a run into the playoffs. Historically, however, Deepdale has not been a happy hunting ground. Cardiff having lost by three goals in 2017,2016, 2010 as well as a 6-0 defeat in 2009. The latter resulting in the swing in goal difference that allowed Preston to beat Cardiff to the Play-offs.
For Preston Alan Browne is unlikely after being in close contact with with an ireland teammate who has tested positive for Covid-19. Browne has given a negative test but under current rules must still isolate for 10 days.
Preston Manager Alex Neil told Lancaster News:
“I presume at the moment that alan won’t be available, but I’m not quite sure. We need to take medical advice although we’ve already had some discussion with the doctor”.
Browne was forced to miss both of Irelands Nations League games this week.
There was, however, better news for midfielder Daniel Johnson:
“DJ to be fair was making good progress just before the international break. But he’d only trained once or twice with us before the Brentford game which wasn’t quite enough. He trained with us on Tuesday this week and hopefully will do so for the remainder of the week”.
Cardiff, meanwhile, will be without playmaker Lee Tomlin who is suspended after his red card at Blackburn. Joe Ralls will most likely play just behind the striker for Cardiff after returning from injury in the Blackburn game.
Kieffer Moore limped off during Wales’ game v England, but did play in the game against Ireland.
Speaking to Wales Online, Cardiff manager Neil Harris said:
“Kieffer’s come back to us. Fortunately he’s healing well, so has a good chance for the weekend”.
Another problem for Harris is the fitness of full back Joe Bennett who had to come off at Blackburn after just 13 minutes:
“Joe Bennett came off with a hamstring, so we have to keep an eye on that. We’ll have to wait and see”.
Scott Sinclair has enjoyed a really good start to the season with three goals in four games. The winger who will know Cardiff well having been a former Swansea City player will be desperate to make it four goals. a wide player who likes to get into the box, he will be a handful for the Cardiff defence.
For the Bluebirds, Joe Ralls will need to be the creative force and push forward to support Moore. Cardiff forwards have often looked isolated this season so Ralls will need to be quick to support Moore when Cardiff play direct. He has the passing ability to open up the Preston defence and if Kieffer Moore can get into good spaces they can be a real threat. Preston will also have to watch out for his set piece play.
Where to Watch
This game is being shown live on Sky Sports Football and Main Event from 11:30 with a 12:00 kick off.
Prediction: Preston North End 1 – 1 Cardiff City
Two teams who have started slow and unlikely to change this weekend. Cardiff will be the happier side with a point away from home.