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Friday, August 18, 2006

Preston Look at QPR....QPR Look at Preston



After securing their first win of the season last weekend Paul Simpson's side are looking to continue where they left off at Molineux when QPR arrive at Deepdale on Saturday.

After being held to a disappointing goalless draw by Sheffield Wednesday on the opening day at Deepdale, the players will go into this one more confident of securing that first home win of the season.

It took until the middle of November for the elusive home win to come last season and everyone is looking to better that record this time around.

QPR also secured their first win of the new campaign, when goals from Rowland and Ward earned them a 2-0 home win against Southend, only Gary Waddock's third win since first taking the reigns back in February.

The former Rangers favourite, who came through ranks at Loftus Road took charge on a temporary basis, when Ian Holloway was placed on gardening leave and was handed the reigns permanently in the summer, making it a dream come true for the 44-year-old.

Waddock has been active in the transfer market this summer, with the latest arrivals Zesh Rehman and Dexter Blackstock taking his number of new arrivals to six, while 12 players have left since the end of the season.

The biggest name to have left Loftus Road is Danny Shittu, who finally ended speculation on his future when he moved to Watford for a fee in excess of £1.5million.

The big defender was the subject of much speculation last season, with moves to Sheffield United and West Brom being touted, but instead Neil Warnock turned his attentions to Claude Davis and with Shittu looking to play in the Premier League there was only one option.

The last meeting between the two sides came back in November at Loftus Road when they met just four weeks after drawing 1-1 at Deepdale, Youl Mawene's last gasp equalise cancelling out Shittu's opener. Down in the capital David Nugent finally signalled his return after illness with his first goal since the 4-0 away win over Ipswich Town back in August, Callum Davidson was also on target to give North End a 2-0 win.

Team News

Preston North End

Paul Simpson is still hoping to add to his squad ahead of the weekend's visit of Rangers, after admitting he is still in the market for a number of additions.

It is well documented that a striker is currently top of that list but if he is unable to complete a transfer in time then the boss will have to pick from the same squad as last week.

Brian O'Neil, despite edging closer to a return, won't be available but he is in line to play for the reserves on Monday, while the players that featured for the second string on Wednesday did nothing to convince the boss that they deserve a starting place on Saturday.

Reserve Team boss Billy Barr 'called it how he saw it' after seeing his side, which included 8 professionals, go down 3-1 to Bury whose first team currently sit bottom of League Two.

Youl Mawene (knee), Callum Davidson (knee) Adam Nowland (broken leg), Brett Ormerod (broken leg) are all still long term absentees while Andy Smith has stepped up his training after tendonitis in his knees.


Team news to follow


Mike Pike - Cumbria

So far this season Pike has refereed two matches, one in League One and one in League Two, issuing just one yellow card in each match.

Ironically he took charge of the same fixture last season, when Gareth Ainsworth was the only player cautioned in the 1-1 draw. He was also in charge when North End won at Coventry in April when Simon Whaley scored the only goal of the game.


Preston North End 8/11, QPR 10/3, Draw 12/5

Matt Hill could have been lining up for the opposition this Saturday as he was left with a straight choice between PNE and QPR - thankfully he chose the Lilywhites.

The North End left-back joined North End in January 2005 after seven years and more than 200 games for Bristol City, a career which had attracted plenty of interest from above and when Matt chose to make that step up he was left with a straight choice of Deepdale or Loftus Road.

Pne.com spoke to Hill about those decisive days in January.

Matt we play QPR this Saturday and if things had turned out differently you could have been playing for them.
It was a funny one, it seems a long time ago now. There's a different manager there now and a different team, it's a different club altogether really.

How close were you to joining QPR?
I was very close to joining them, I was speaking to Ian Holloway and I was going to go down the following day but Billy Davies phoned me up, he got there first and said that they had put in the money and that he wanted me up there the following day. I was very interested so I went up and as they say the rest is history.

QPR had quite a few links to Bristol at the time so it would have been easy to move to Loftus Road.
It would have been easy to join them, they were doing well at the time and knowing Ian Holloway and what he wants to achieve I could have quite easily got sucked into all that. But after meeting Billy Davies and seeing everything up here the decision was made easy for me and I don't regret it whatsoever.

Holloway's famous for his inspirational quotes, did he have any for you?
Not really, he was straight down, telling me why he wanted me there, giving me plenty of encouragement and telling me how he would improve my game and the signs were good. I knew that he was a character and that he was a funny bloke but you will see his serious side when the games are on, like any coach. It didn't work out though, he gave me his blessing and said carry on, he was quite understanding.

Is it correct that you chose North End because Billy Davies wanted to use you solely as a left-back?
There were many reasons and that was definitely one of them, Ian Holloway knew that I could play centre-half and left-back and that was what he wanted to use me for. But with me moving to the Championship I wanted to nail down one position and make myself better at that position, hopefully I can do that here.

In hindsight it looks like you made the correct decision.
It has been a fantastic run in my short time at Preston, QPR have had their ups and downs and Ian Holloway has gone after all that so I definitely made the right move.

I bet when you signed that you didn't think you'd be the senior defender of four, like you were at Wolves the other night?
No, not at all. It's unbelievable really but it's all credit to the lads at the back, they were fantastic. It's a difficult place to go and get a result but the lads stuck together and we managed to pull it off.

How's your partnership down the left with Danny Pugh going?
Danny's a good player; just like Callum he can defend and help you out. We are starting to form a good partnership, obviously we haven't done a lot down the left at the moment but hopefully in time we will do.

And what about the partnerships in the rest of the defence?
It is difficult in pre-season because there is a lot of chopping and changing and players are playing with different people and you don't get the chance to play together for consecutive games. We've started to do that now and I like to think that we are showing in games that we have formed a good partnership.

One noticable thing last week was the passion which was evident, particularly from the management staff on the bench.
The manager stated before the game that he wanted us to show a bit more passion; I don't think we showed it enough at Norwich and he did demand that we show a lot of fire and a lot of guts out there. I thought we did that and with the manager's reflection on the game beforehand the lads got that energy from him and we showed that on the pitch.

That 3-1 win at Wolves is a result that the lads can really kick-on from now isn't it?
It's important, it was pressure and no one can tell you otherwise. Not winning the first two games, I know it was only our third game in but there is always that pressure to win you first game and now we would like to consolidate with a home win. It's important now that we all stick together and that the fans are with us because obviously that helps.

Preston Preston Q&A with Matt Hill



It's been all change at Deepdale this summer.

Off the pitch, former Carlisle United boss Paul Simpson replaced the out-going Billy Davies - while on it, it was a case of two in, two out.

Of those four deals, the most high-profile move saw Tyrone Mears join West Ham United in a £1 million transfer.

Whether Simpson gets to spend that cash though remains to be seen, but on the evidence so far, he might just have to wheel and deal his way around the market before the transfer window shuts at the end of the month.

The major talking point between now and August 31st is sure to revolve around the future of PNE hot-shot David Nugent.

Believed to be a target for an array of Premiership Clubs throughout the summer, Preston's entire season could ultimately depend on whether the 21 year-old striker commits his long term future to the Club.

Preston gaffer Paul Simpson

If he stays, Preston - who were many pundits' choice for a play-off place at the start of the campaign - could yet achieve that goal.

Unfortunately, four point from a possible nine is by no means 'play-off form.'

An opening day draw at home to Sheffield Wednesday wasn't exactly what the doctor ordered and a 2-0 defeat at Carrow Road - which also saw Graham Alexander see red - only served to compound their woes.

However, Simpson has been around the block too many times to be over-concerned and after a stunning 3-1 victory at Wolves last time out, he'll still be confident of guiding North End to the upper reaches of the Championship table come the business end of the campaign.....

Top scorer
David Nugent 2

Last league game
Wolverhampton Wanderers 1, Preston North End 3.
Football League Championship.
August 11th 2006.
PNE: Nash, Wilson, Hill, St. Ledger, Chilvers, Whaley, Jarrett, McKenna, Pugh, Nugent (Agyemang 88), Dichio (Sedgwick 73).
Subs Not Used: Lonergan, Stock, McCormack.

Simpson on Wolves: "It is a massive relief, we knew it would be a tough game and we had a patched-up side out, but we showed real character.
"We asked them to play with a bit of passion and to play with belief in themselves and each other.
"It has been a wonderful night for us and hopefully the first of many. We did not allow Wolves to settle and knocked the stuffing out of them."

Superhoopsbet.co.uk match odds
Preston 8/11
QPR 10/3
draw 12/5

Cookie attempted his latest ball juggling act
at Deepdale last season

Key player: David NUGENT
David Nugent was born to score goals.
Arguably the best striker outside the top-flight, the 21 year-old is believed to be attracting the attentions of a host of Premiership clubs.
His performance for England Under-21s on Tuesday night probably added another pound note or two to his value, but Preston will be keen to ensure he's a North Ender this time next year.

Head to head
Preston wins: 8
Rangers wins: 5
Draws: 9

Last meeting
QPR 0, Preston North End 2 (Nugent, Davidson)
Football League Championship
November 22nd 2005.


Callum Davidson wheels away to celebrate Preston's
second goal at Loftus Road in November

Latest news on our opponents
Preston boss Paul Simpson is determined to keep hold of star striker David Nugent.
The 21-year-old has recently been linked with several Premiership clubs and scored two impressive goals in the 3-1 victory at Wolves.
Simpson said: "The chairman Derek Shaw definitely does not want to sell him.
"I think he realises that what we are trying to do here can be right for him. But there are other people trying to fill his head with other ideas."
(source: BBC Sport)


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