Carabao Cup football returns to Deepdale on Tuesday night, and with it comes the opportunity for Preston to win their fourth successive home game this season. Grant McCann’s Hull City stand in their way, this one of only three all-Championship ties of the round.
It should prove to be a tough test for North End, McCann having been at the helm when Doncaster beat them 3-1 in the FA Cup last season.
A former player and manager of Peterborough United, Grant McCann moved to the KCOM Stadium in the summer after leading Doncaster Rovers to the League One play-off semi-final, replacing the outgoing Nigel Adkins.
The 39-year-old has no new injury concerns from Saturday’s 3-1 home defeat to Bristol City, although Eric Lichaj (muscle) is doubtful and Angus MacDonald and Callum Elder (both calf) are still yet to make a competitive return from long-term injuries.
Alex Neil is expected to freshen up his side again, with North End facing their third game in six days.
PNE come into this one on the back of two successive home wins. The first came on Wednesday night against Stoke, Daniel Johnson netting the pick of the goals in a 3-1 win. Billy Bodin and Josh Harrop were also on the scoresheet, with James McClean scoring an 89th-minute consolation for Stoke.
North End then beat Sheffield Wednesday 2-1 on Saturday thanks to two Daniel Johnson penalties. Steven Fletcher pulled one back for the Owls, but they couldn’t find the equaliser.
Hull have had a more mixed start to their campaign. After a narrow 2-1 loss to Swansea on the opening day, they beat Tranmere 3-0 in the first round of the Carabao Cup.
That came prior to a successful return to league action – a 2-1 win over Reading at the KCOM giving them their first three points of the season, before a credible 1-1 draw at Brentford. They then suffered back to back defeats.
Derrick Williams scored the only goal as Hull were beaten 1-0 by Blackburn live on Sky, before Saturday’s defeat to Bristol City. Jarrod Bowen scored the hosts’ only goal in that game, taking his tally up to three so far this season.
It goes without saying that Jarrod Bowen is one of Hull’s most dangerous assets. It is a surprise to some that he is still playing in the second tier of English football, with reported interest from Premier League sides Newcastle and Tottenham.
He scored 22 Championship goals last season, enough to win him the club’s Player of the Year, Players’ Player of the Year and Supporters’ Player of the Year awards. He was also named in the Championship Team of the Year.
The season before that, he scored 15 times and earned the Supporters’ Player and Players’ Player of the Year awards.
Their other real danger comes in the form of Polish winger Kamil Grosicki. Another player that could perhaps make the step up to a higher league, Grosicki’s style mirrors that of an old-fashioned winger.
He has netted nine goals in each of his previous two Championship campaigns for the Tigers. He also contributed 12 assists last season.
The third player to watch out for is ex-Liverpool midfielder Kevin Stewart. 25-year-old Stewart has not always been a mainstay in the Tigers team since his £4m move from the Reds three years ago but is one of the first names on the team sheet under McCann.
He has played every minute in the Championship so far this campaign as part of a three-man midfield and has received big praise from his manager. McCann called the midfielder “the heartbeat” of the Tigers team in a recent interview and said that he has all the attributes to play at the next level.
This week, Hull City fan Richard Fleming bring us our ‘Opposition View’. You can find Rich on twitter here – @hullcitydata.
The season has started ok, I think we’d have expected a couple of more points, especially with having had 3 home games in august (1 win 2 losses at the KCOM). There is a clear plan there from the manager to get us playing on the front foot from the off and it is working but we aren’t taking our chances and then pushing forward so much has meant players are left isolated on the counter.
The players have taken time to adapt with some taking longer than others, Grant McCann won’t be dropping his way of playing any time soon and he’s not the type of character to mess with, so I’m quite sure that any players who aren’t pulling their weight will find themselves out of the squad. We have a big squad and it’ll be used a lot, especially in the cups.
Against Tranmere we used a brand new first 11 compared to the previous league game and I expect the same against Preston. Since our last round win, we’ve only managed a draw and two defeats, running Brentford close away from home and enduring a turgid affair against Blackburn which could have gone either way and if Bowen converted his penalty it would have been another draw.
Bristol City last Saturday was another close game until we conceded an own goal and heads just dropped before conceding a quick third goal.
Expectations for the Season
I’d be quite happy finishing the same as last season in mid-table, we have a new manager and playing squad getting used to a stricter regime both tactically and training-wise. I’ve really enjoyed watching us this season even in the losses because I can see what we could be and just waiting for it to click and I’m sure when it does, we’ll go on a bit of a run.
As for our XI for the game on Tuesday night, I’m going to go with the following in a 4-3-3 formation: Ingram; Kingsley, Tafazolli, Pennington, McKenzie; Batty, Lopes, Toral; Milinkovic, Bowler, Dicko.
Most of the players here haven’t featured much and like against Tranmere will be ready from the off, we just need to play the whole 90 minutes and I think we could be due another win in the cup. I’ll go for a final score of 1-2 Hull City.
Given both sides will likely make changes, this game could be a tricky one to predict.
Alex Neil made 11 changes to his North End side for the round one win over Bradford and there is every chance that he may look to freshen things up once more.
North End’s strength in depth was showcased superbly in the victory at Valley Parade, though, and I back whatever side Neil puts out to show enough quality to progress to round three. However, I’ll go with the following: Ripley; Fisher, Storey, Hunts, Rafferty; Ledson, Bayliss; Potts, Browne, Green; Stockley.
Hull will provide a strong test, though, and if Bowen and Grosicki feature and fire it could be another game with plenty of goals in it. Score prediction – PNE 3-1 Hull.
What do you think ahead of the Hull game? Will we progress through to the next round? Let us know on social media what you think. You can also listen to Episode #13 of the From the Finney Podcast just by hitting the play button on our web player below.