After Rovers’ unbeaten league run came to an end last Saturday, Rovers will look to start another similar streak against local rivals Preston North End this evening.
Tony Mowbray’s men fell to a narrow 1-0 defeat away to QPR last Saturday, their first defeat of 2021.
Preston, meanwhile, fell to defeat at home to strugglers Rotherham United, and the Lilywhites will be looking for a first victory in four.
We Meet Again…
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The two sides rarely met in the early years of the 21st century due to the difference in leagues, with the only two meetings in the first 15 years coming back in the 2000-01 season, when Rovers did the double over Preston on their way to promotion.
The last meeting between the sides came in November 2020, as Rovers dominated their local rivals, running out as 3-0 victors at Deepdale thanks to goals from Adam Armstrong, Ben Brereton and Tyrhys Dolan.
It was much closer in the last meeting at Ewood Park, as the sides drew 1-1. Rovers went ahead early on through Adam Armstrong, before Josh Harrop equalised with a well-struck volley.
The Ones To Watch
Despite a transfer window that saw first-team stars Ben Pearson and Ben Davies depart, Alex Neil’s side is a team full of talent.
Republic of Ireland international Alan Browne is expected to start at right-back for the visitors. A talented player with three goals to his name this season, Browne will be a constant threat from full-back and Rovers will need to be wary of his threat going forward.
I’d also expect Scott Sinclair to feature for the hosts, and after taking time to adjust to life at Deepdale, the former Swansea winger has eight goals to his name this season. Sinclair has the experience to be a regular threat at Championship level, and Rovers could benefit from marking him close.
In terms of the line-up, I’m expecting Rovers to start Sam Gallagher again. He caused the Preston defence havoc in our last meeting, and I feel Mowbray will be looking for the same effect here.
Barry Douglas should return to the starting XI after missing the QPR fixture for family reasons, whilst the ‘Travenport’ partnership should continue.
Predicted XI: Kaminski; Nyambe, Lenihan, Branthwaite, Douglas; Travis, Rothwell, Davenport; Elliott, Armstrong, Gallagher
I’m expecting the fixture to be a cagey affair. Neither side wants to concede early, and with Preston’s recent run of form, a good start is necessary.
I’ll back Rovers to win, but it will be a tough match despite the visitors’ recent struggles.
Prediction: Rovers 2-1 Preston North End
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