Saturday 12th August 2023
Preston North End v Sunderland
Tickets & Match Coverage
Tickets: Tickets are sold out.
TV/Stream: Full live match coverage is available via www.safc.com.
Radio: Full live match commentary available via BBC Radio Newcastle (not online)
Last Sunday was a good opportunity for people to judge if they were a glass half full person, or the type who knocks a half empty glass of red wine onto a newly-carpeted floor so it smashes into many pieces, whilst also ruining said carpet.
There were many things to love about the performance on the opening day of the season and equally there were as many to feel frustrated about. The opening period was a footballing masterclass, except we forgot to create chances and score, which is ultimately the aim of the game.
The issues were fairly clear, so all eyes will be on the starting XI to see what Tony Mowbray does about it. Will it be a case of working it out on the training ground to bed in new signings a little more or will a change of personnel be required?
The task is an away trip to Preston North End, which was the scene of an epic day that most of us won’t forget in a hurry on the final day of last season, when we ended up 3-0 winners and the footballing Gods tipped things in our favour as we made the playoffs.
But our record at Deepdale over the years isn’t great, with our victory in May being the first there since 2003 and the one before that coming back in March 1973.
In fact, our record against Preston, home and away in all competitions, is pretty poor - having won just two of the previous ten meetings stretching back to 2004. Let’s all just focus on our previous meeting and hope we can repeat that feat to claim our first three points of the season.
Ryan Lowe has now been in charge at Deepdale for just over 18 months with the club now at a point of deciding whether to stick or twist. Since promotion from League One in 2014-15, Preston have not finished outside of the range of 7th down to 14th in the Championship.
For a side who have not played in the top flight since 1960-61 and who spent long periods of the 1980’s and 1990’s in the bottom half of the Football League, there is much to celebrate in these final league placings - but are the club in a position to push on or would another season finishing in mid-table mediocrity be an achievement?
There was a determined effort not to lose players during the summer but Daniel Johnson and Josh Onomah decided to leave the club once their contracts had expired, with Johnson eventually moving to Stoke City.
Incoming transfers of note include striker Will Keane and central defender Jack Whatmough from Wigan Athletic and midfielder Duane Holmes from Huddersfield Town. Keane managed to open his Preston account last weekend with a goal to earn his side a point at Bristol City with just a few minutes left on the clock.
Lowe’s side didn’t have the greatest of records at Deepdale last season and they will be looking for a bit of revenge after comprehensively being taken apart by the Lads on the final day of last season.
The bookies have the Lads as slight favourites this afternoon at 11/8, while Preston are priced at 15/8 and the draw is around 12/5.
Head to head... at Deepdale
- Sunderland wins: 17
- Draws: 17
- Preston North End wins: 28
- Sunderland goals: 89
- Preston North End goals: 115
Last time we met... at Deepdale
Monday 8th May 2023
Preston North End 0-3 Sunderland
[Amad 54’, Pritchard 61’, Clarke 65’]
Sunderland: Patterson, Cirkin (Pritchard), O’Nien, Hume, Gooch (Anderson), Ekwah (Lihadji), Neil, Clarke, Roberts, Amad (Ba), Gelhardt (Michut) Substitutes not used: Bass, Taylor
Preston North End: Woodman, Potts, Fernandez, Storey, Bauer, Lindsay, Parrott (Onomah), McCann, Delap (Woodburn), Cannon, Ledson Substitutes not used: Cornell, Slater, Leigh, Kamara, Mawene
Played for both...
Sunderland-born full-back John Kay finally made his way back home in the summer of 1987 when Denis Smith brought him to Roker ahead of the challenge of Division Three following relegation.
The tough-tackling defender started out at Arsenal however and then - as the story goes - moved to Wimbledon in 1984, to make a move further north to be closer to Sunderland. Unsurprisingly, Kay slotted in well at the Crazy Gang before Smith picked up a bargain.
Kay would make 239 appearances that famously included no goals during his time at Roker. Many more appearances would have been added to the tally if he had not suffered a broken leg at home to Birmingham City where he pretended to row himself off the pitch as he sat upright leaving the field on a stretcher.
After leaving in 1996, Kay had a brief spell at Preston before joining Scarborough where he stayed until hanging up his boots in 1999.