Preston North End Vs Burnley
Saturday 17th January 2009 Coca-Cola Championship 12:45 PM Kick-off
Two founder member of the Football League go head-to-head early on Saturday afternoon with Preston welcoming the visit of their fierce rivals Burnley. This upcoming Lancashire hot pot comes after a superb away win for North End at top-of-the-table Wolves, lifting the Lilywhites to 6th place.
Burnley on the other hand have suffered a drastic turn around in their fortunes with two defeats in the last week. Not only is Clarets' chance of making the Carling Cup final in doubt after a heavy defeat at White Hart Lane, but Owen Coyle's men missed the chance to leapfrog North End after losing to Swansea on Saturday evening.
This Saturday's game is, however, a local derby meaning that current form means nothing. Last season's trip to Turf Moor is a case in point. North End were rock bottom yet still put on an impressive performance to emerge as victors in a thrilling five goal encounter.
A win for Preston on Saturday would put daylight between the two sides and see the Lilywhites up to fourth, should results elsewhere go their way. Whereas a win for Burnley would be see them leapfrog Preston and displace them from a play-off place.
No doubt Preston supporters will be looking for revenge after the 3-1 defeat the Lilywhites suffered at Turf Moor back in September, despite going 1-0 up through Barry Nicholson. The former Aberdeen midfielder put the visitors ahead after 22 minutes before a screamer from Joey Gudjonsson sent the teams in at the break level. Steven Caldwell made it two just after the hour mark, Chris Eagles sealed the victory deep into injury time.
As mentioned above, last season's visit to Turf Moor couldn't have been any different. Despite propping up the Championship table, Preston put their poor form to one side to bravely come back from behind to beat their East Lancashire counterparts.
When Kyle Lafferty opened the scoring in front of the travelling Preston supporters housed in the Cricket Field Stand, they could not help but fear the worst. Thankfully, just before half-time, Chris Sedgwick equalised. Then, after the break, Neil Mellor clinically put Preston back in front only to see Chris McCann peg the Lilywhites back just after the hour mark to tie the score at 2-2.
Going into the last ten minutes of the game, it looked like the points would be shared but not if Simon Whaley had anything to do with it. The former Bury winger let loose from 25 yards with a fizzing, low driven effort in to the bottom corner of Brian Jensen's goal, sending the Preston fans into raptures, consequently sealing the win for North End.
Burnley will be without midfielder Wade Elliott who picked up his fifth booking of the season in the 2-0 defeat to Swansea on Saturday. Michael Duff's suspension was served during the FA Cup 3rd round replay on Tuesday night making him eligible for the forthcoming Lancashire Hotpot at the weekend. Rafael van der Schaaf is a doubt with a kidney illness whilst Kevin McDonald is also expected to miss out.
Martin Paterson injured himself during the warm-up prior to Burnley's FA Cup tie with QPR whilst instrumental midfielder Chris McCann was substituted during said game and will also be a doubt for Saturday's clash.
As for Preston, Ross Wallace is set to make his first start as a permanent Preston player having completed a 4-and-a-half year deal on Monday. With no new injury concerns for Preston, the same team that impressively beat Wolves at the weekend is more than likely to start against the Clarets. Callum Davidson could make the bench if he is to be kept out by young Eddie Nolan.