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THE INSIDE TRACK: PRESTON

20 October 2016

Our guide to the Lilywhites

NORWICH City host Preston North End on Saturday (3pm) in the Sky Bet Championship.

Here we take a look at what City come up against in this weekend's fixture against the Lilywhites.

IN THE DUGOUT
Simon Grayson is the second-longest serving manager in the Sky Bet Championship, having been with Preston North End since February 2013.

Only Ipswich Town's Mick McCarthy has been in his post for a greater length of time, with Grayson steadily transforming Preston's fortunes to reach the second tier via the play-offs at the end of the 2014-15 season.

While that was Preston's first play-off success in ten attempts, the former defender is something of a specialist; having previously overseen promotions by that manner at Blackpool and Huddersfield Town.


It was with Blackpool where Grayson made his managerial bow, enjoying a highly successful three-year spell before leaving in 2008 to take over at hometown club Leeds United.

His first full season at Elland Road saw Leeds return to the second tier, securing automatic promotion behind Paul Lambert's Canaries while also famously winning at rivals Manchester United in the FA Cup.

Taking the reigns at Huddersfield in February 2012 before leaving just under a year later, Grayson marked his 200th game with Preston by securing victory over the Terriers earlier this week.

IN THE PRESS
Preston North End forward Paul Gallagher says keeping things simple was the key factor behind his side beating Huddersfield Town 3-1 at Deepdale on Wednesday evening.

Speaking to pnefc.net after extending their unbeaten run to five games, the 32-year-old explained: "We went back to the basics of working hard as a team.

"We had a feeling they would want to pass the ball so got in their faces and made it a tough evening for them. We were disciplined and stayed in our shape throughout the game."


Gallagher was involved in all three goals, providing two assists from set-pieces before netting himself to register his first of the season.

"I've been practicing them a bit more," he added.

"I'll always try and put the ball in the box because I know the quality we have inside the penalty-area."

ONE TO WATCH
Jordan Hugill has risen from non-league circles to steadily establish himself as an important player at Deepdale, finding the net five times this season already.

A relative latecomer to the professional game, Hugill spent time with Seaham Red Star, Consett, Whitby Town, Marske United and the Glenn Hoddle Academy in Spain before being recruited by Port Vale in June 2013.

His solitary season with Vale saw him score four goals in 20 league appearances, doing enough to convince Preston to part with the cash necessary to bring him to Lancashire on an initial two-year deal.


With limited first team opportunities during his first year at Preston, Hugill was farmed out to Tranmere Rovers and Hartlepool United on loan, registering four goals in eight starts for the latter.

Such form saw him given the chance to impress by North End boss Simon Grayson during the 2015-16 season, with the now 24-year-old responding by making several notable contributions - often off the bench.

Handed even more responsibility this term, Hugill's strikes have helped his side pick up invaluable victories over the likes of Cardiff, Wigan and Aston Villa so far.

IN THE SQUAD
Goalkeepers: Anders Lindegaard, Chris Maxwell, Matthew Hudson.

Defenders: Marnick Vermijl, Greg Cunningham, Tom Clarke, Bailey Wright, Calum Woods, Liam Grimshaw, Tommy Spurr, Ben Davies, Paul Huntington, Alex Baptiste, Clive Smith.

Midfielders: Ben Pearson, Chris Humphrey, Alan Browne, Daniel Johnson, Paul Gallagher, Aiden McGeady, Ben Pringle, John Welsh.

Forwards: Simon Makienok, Jermaine Beckford, Eoin Doyle, Stevie May, Jordan Hugill, Callum Robinson.

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