Paul Dickov will take his Doncaster Rovers side on the road for the first time since their 3-0 set back against Port Vale ten days ago.
The 3-0 loss at Vale Park was Rovers’ first since October and, despite a 3-1 humbling at the hands of League One leaders Bristol City, the South Yorkshire side cross the Pennines to face Preston North End looking to enhance their play off credentials in the aftermath of Saturday’s comfortable win over Colchester United.
In the opposite dug out to the Scot is a man who signed him twice as a player, in Simon Grayson. The Yorkshire born manager snapped him up on two separate occasions while at the helm of Blackpool and Leeds United.
The pair crossed swords earlier in the season and had to settle for a share of the spoils at Keepmoat Stadium. North End took the lead through Chris Humphrey’s strike midway through the second half before Nathan Tyson stabbed home from close range in stoppage time.
The Deepdale side have had a progressive season since and intermingled with an FA Cup run – which was recently curtailed by Manchester United (in which they took the lead) – there has been a plethora of quality signings including Jermaine Beckford, Daniel Johnson, Sylvan Ebanks-Blake and former Rovers loanee goalkeeper Sam Johnstone.
Rovers have not visited the Lilywhites since the back end of 2012 where Dean Saunders’ men routed Graham Westley’s side courtesy of goals from Dave Syers, David Cotterill and Billy Paynter.
Last time out (Sat 29th December 2012):
DRFC 3 (Syers, 1; Cotterill, 30; Paynter pen, 76)
Attendance – 9626
PNE - T Stuckmann, D Buchanan, P Huntington (L Foster, 35), B Wright, W Hayhurst, J Monakana, J Welsh, C Beardsley (A Elding, 65), J Mousinho, A Procter (J Byrom, 74), S Beavon
DRFC - G Woods, J McCombe, P Quinn, T Spurr, R Jones, D Cotterill (A Griffin, 82), P Keegan, D Syers, J Harper, B Paynter (J Husband, 88), K Bennett (S Martis, 81)
Head to head league results (in Preston):
Rovers – 3
PNE – 10
Draws – 3
Rovers – James Coppinger could come in to Paul Dickov’s plans as he looks to return from a four week lay off. Other than a few “bumps and bruises”, according to Dickov, Rovers should remain largely unchanged.
PNE – Midfielder Daniel Johnson could face Doncaster for the third time this season and for a third different club (having featured for Chesterfield and Oldham previously). Sam Johnstone will look to face his former loan side and Jermaine Beckford who scored the final goal in their 4-0 win over Oldham at the weekend is pushing for a start.
Fancy a flutter? Rovers 7/2, Draw 12/5, PNE 4/5
Listen to ROVERS PLAYER
live coverage from 19:30 with Tom Biltcliffe and Danny Czepiec.
Follow ROVERS WALL
for all the action as it happens from 18:30.