Being a founding member of the Football League, Preston North End are one of the oldest clubs in existence and their ground, Deepdale, is one of the oldest stadiums still being used for its original purpose. Deepdale has been home to some of Football's greatest legends such as Tom Finney, Bill Shankly... and Jermaine Beckford.
A Footballing Legend
That's right Jermaine Beckford is one of my footballing legends. He lit up the dark days of Leeds United's League One era with his goals: he scored a total of 72 for Leeds in his 126 appearances, one of which will remain in the Whites' fans hearts for many years to come. That goal against old rivals Manchester United, knocking the Premier League side out of the FA Cup on 3 January 2010 (Remember the date?). He arrived at Preston North End from Leeds via Everton and current Premier League Champions Leicester City.
Of course there's another Leeds old boy on the books at Deepdale these days, their manager Simon Grayson. Grayson dug Leeds out of the quagmire that is League One, and in 2010, took United to their highest finish (7th) in the Championship in 5 seasons, a feat that hasn't been beaten by numerous managers since. He has repeated those heroics with Preston and led them to a comfortable 11th-placed finish this season, above Leeds United. He has nothing to prove to Leeds fans, but I am sure he would like to end Preston's season on a high no matter the opposition he may face.
Not being blessed by the grace of a Ballerina cavorting in a production of Swan Lake, current Leeds Manager, Steve Evans, may be about to perform his swan song. Unpredictable President Massimo Cellino is already rumoured to be lining up a replacement, and unless Leeds beat Preston by ten clear goals and Brentford lose without scoring, Evans's target of a top ten finish has not been reached. With the final curtain ready to be drawn, Evans too would like to end on a high. This game may contain goals.
Leeds fans have warmed to Evans during his tenure knowing his task was never going to be easy, and they will again be traveling in large numbers to back him and their team against the Lancashire side. Evans wants to win it for the fans (and probably for himself as well).
Souleymane Doukara could return to the side after his biting ban finishes, but Evans is likely to opt for one of Antenucci or Erwin as second forward to Wood. Gaetano Berardi will not feature and Lewie Coyle will cover. Carayol will also be sidelined and may not feature for the Whites again as his loan comes to an end.
For Preston, John Welsh and Anders Lindegaard remain doubts.
Leeds's last five games include 3 wins, 1 draw and 1 loss. They have scored 10 and conceded 8.
Preston have won 1, drawn 2 and lost 2. Scoring only 5 goals they have conceded 6.
From 23 games at Deepdale, Preston have won 13, Leeds 6 and 4 drawn.
Leeds player to watch
I would like to have seen how Marco Silvestri would have coped against Beckford at his peak. However, if Beckford gets a game then it will still be an interesting dual, should Marco play. Silvestri is noted for his shot-stopping ability and may need to call on that skill Saturday. This season he has made 44 appearances and kept 8 clean sheets which is good going behind a defence who have occasionally conspired against him.
Preston player to watch
23-year-old Jamaican Daniel Johnson may be one for the future but he is Preston's leading scorer this season with 9 goals. He has scored 16 goals from 62 appearances in total since joining the Lancashire club, which is good going from midfield.
Preston North End v Leeds United
Football League Championship
BBC Radio Leeds, LUTV
Saturday, May 7, 2016
4:30a PT / 7:30a ET / 12:30p BT
Leeds United's probable lineup
Silvestri, Coyle, Bamba, Cooper, Taylor, Bridcutt, Diagouraga, Dallas, Cook, Antenucci, Wood
Subs: Peacock-Farrell, Bellusci, Adeyemi, Mowatt, Murphy, Botaka, Doukara
Preston North End's probable lineup
Kirkland, Woods, Wright, Huntington, Cunningham, Reach, Johnson, Gallagher, Browne, Garner, Beckford
Subs: Vermijl, Pearson, Kilkenny, Doyle, Hugill, Robinson, Hudson
Decent odds are available for a draw between two evenly-matched sides, 2-2.
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