Match Preview: Charlton Athletic
By Paul Neat
Updated Thursday, 26th April 2012
North End look to topple League One Champions Charlton Athletic on Saturday in what will be Graham Alexander's 421st and final appearance for Preston.
Preston North End Vs Charlton Athletic Match Preview
Npower League One Saturday 28th April 2012
Kick Off: 15:00
Referee: Kevin Friend (click here for referee stats)
Preston North End: LLDDWD
Charlton Athletic: LWWWWW
Just as the season began with a fixture against a club from the South East, it shall end that way, as far as North End’s Deepdale campaign will at least, when the League One Champions Charlton Athletic pay a visit.
With North End’s safety secured likewise the Addicks’ promotion back to the Championship it seems that all that is left to play for is pride in Saturday’s npower League One fixture.
A win against North End would see Charlton reach the much-desired 100 points tally and subsequently ensure of a truly unforgettable season for Chris Powell’s side.
However, in a recent interview with the Charlton Athletic website, Addicks gaffer Powell made references to perhaps taking the foot of the gas and relieving some of the pressure now that promotion is secured.
With that in mind, it could be the perfect opportunity to finish the season strongly as North End, in theory at least, could finish in the top half if they were to win both their remaining fixtures.
The 2011/2012 campaign might not look as glum if Graham Westley is able to steer his side into the top half and carry some momentum into next season.
Previous Meetings (Click here for head-to-head statistics)
North End have already gone toe-to-toe with Charlton twice this season resulting in one win and one defeat.
The first, on September 13th, saw North End book their place in the League Cup 3rd round at Addicks’ expense where goals from Darel Russell, who ironically joined Charlton shortly after, and Danny Mayor sealed a 2-0 win.
However, the same couldn’t be said for the Lilywhites’ second trip to the Valley.
A 5-2 drubbing is something that no North Ender will want to be reminded of with the only highlight being an audacious effort from outcast Keammar Daley providing scant consolation.
The Preston faithful can take some solace in knowing that the Addicks’ last visit to Deepdale saw their South London counterparts head back to the capital without a single point for their endeavours.
Despite taking the lead through former Burnley striker Andy Gray’s spot kick, North End went on to win 2-1 thanks to goals from Neil Mellor and Barry Nicholson.
It is also worth noting that said game saw Jon Parkin make his Preston debut.
North End fans have this week expressed their desire to see Graham Alexander in the squad for Saturday’s game.
To their joy it was announced on Thursday that the former Scotland international will be part of Graham Westley’s 16-man squad.
This means that the Deepdale faithful is able to see the modern-day Preston legend in a white shirt for one last time before he hangs up his boots.
On-loan Arsenal striker Rhys Murphy will be looking to feature after impressing in the reserves but Iain Hume, Neil Mellor, Barry Nicholson, Paul Parry and Adam Barton are all out of contention.
For the visitors, speaking to Charlton’s official website, manager Chris Powell said that he’d be “taking into account” players who have perhaps not featured as much as others and will consider rotating the squad for the trip to Deepdale.
The former Charlton defender has signalled his intentions to play as many of his influential and pivotal players in the Addicks’ last game of the season at home to Hartlepool United.