After picking up their fifth loss since the restart last week, Bristol City will look to end the season on a high note for what will be interim manager, Dean Holden’s last game in charge before the off-season hunt for a full-time coach begins.
Life in the Robins camp has been difficult since the COVID-19 break, with the departure of long-time coach Lee Johnson and a total of seven points acquired as they crashed out of contention for the play-offs.
For many fans, the down-turn in form comes as little surprise having watched City fail to register a win in the final five games before the season stoppage, only to pick up where they left off with a less than settled formation and line-up selection.
In truth, back-to-back wins against Hull and Middlesbrough in Holden’s first two games in charge went some way to improve the mood, but even defeating long-time nemesis Neil Warnock can’t shake the fact that City will once again miss out on the play-offs and potential promotion.
Eyes will, therefore, turn to the team selection by Holden as many of the players look to try and cement their position in the team for next year with a strong performance in the 46th and final game of the season.
Had things gone differently for Preston, they might have been hoping to join the post-season excitement via a top-six place and a first Championship play-off berth since the 2008-09 season.
Over the course of the entire 2019-20 season, the Lilywhites can be considered one of the league’s big surprises with young coach Alex Neil guiding an underrated roster to within a couple of wins of the top six.
Under Neil since 2017, Preston have continued to improve their league performance year-on-year and have the potential to match the 7th place that they managed to achieve in Neil’s rookie year as manager.
Since 2011, Preston are unbeaten in their league fixtures against Bristol City, registering eight wins and five losses, which includes the team's battles in League One before both teams won promotion in 2014-15.
Eternity has passed since Preston’s 4-0 play-off final demolition of Swindon, but with a solid manager in place and good core of players led by Daniel Johnson and Sean Maguire up-front, the future looks solid for the Lilywhite’s irrespective of how Tuesday’s visit to Ashton Gate goes.
Bristol City: Bentley, Vyner, Williams, Kalas, Hunt, Smith, Paterson, Dasilva, Palmer, Afobe, Wells
Preston North End: Rudd, Fisher, Storey, Bauer, Hughes, Ledson, Johnson, Rafferty, Brown, Barkhuizen, Maguire
Match Preview written by Alex Lewis