It’s the relegation and playoff battles that meet this Saturday, when Preston North End make the long trip south to face off against Luton Town at Kenilworth Road.
Alex Neil’s Lilywhites will be desperate to make a good start to what is effectively a nine-match sprint to fill up the play-off spots, whereas newly reappointed Nathan Jones will be wanting to rescue Luton from the relegation spots following their League One title win last season.
When and where?
The match will be held at Luton’s Kenilworth Road at 3pm on Saturday, 20 June.
Preston hasn’t played at Kenilworth Road since 2006, where Rowan Vine and Carlos Edwards gave the Hatters a 2-0 win.
This season, Luton fell to defeat in a scrappy match at Deepdale, where penalties from Paul Gallagher for Preston and James Collins for Luton made it 1-1 before former Hatter Jayden Stockley scored a late winner for PNE.
Luton has no known injuries or suspensions, leaving Nathan Jones having a full squad to pick from for his first match back in charge.
For Preston, Louis Moult is the only certain absentee as his recovery from an anterior cruciate ligament injury which he sustained earlier in the season. Tom Bayliss and Billy Bodin have both recovered from their injuries and are both match-ready again.
Last five matches
(D) 0-0 vs Wigan
(D) 1-1 vs Stoke
(W) 2-1 vs Brentford
(L) 3-1 vs Charlton
(W) 0-1 vs Middlesbrough
If form is anything to go by under these circumstances, Luton has a good chance of causing an upset, especially on home turf, with mostly positive results from their last five matches.
(L) 1-3 vs QPR
(L) 2-0 vs Fulham
(L) 2-0 vs West Brom
(W) 2-1 vs Hull
(L) 0-1 Milwall
Before the season stoppage, Preston were having a tough time of it, with form that wouldn’t have carried them into the playoffs. However, a break may be what Alex Neil’s side needed to kickstart themselves again to strengthen their playoff chances.
I think that Luton being at home would have helped them under normal circumstances, but I do believe Preston will be too hard to handle for the Hatters. With playoff places up for grabs, this will only incentivise the Lilywhites further.
Match preview written by Tom Cresswell.