Preston North End vs Norwich City preview: How to watch, kick off time, team news, predicted lineups and ones to watch
Credit: Steohen Pond/Getty Images

Preston North End come into their first game with interim manager Frankie McAvoy in charge, with Alex Neil recently relieved of his  duties after nearly four years at the helm. 

The Lilywhites lost 1-0 to Luton Town last time out, in what was the final nail in Neil's coffin as manager. 

They have won just one of their previous nine games and sit precariously in 16th spot.

Daniel Farke's side are eight points clear at the top heading into their trip to Lancashire and will want to keep their 10-game unbeaten streak firmly intact.

Their last game before the international break saw a nine-game winning run ended with a 1-1 draw against Blackburn Rovers.

  • Team news

Preston captain Alan Browne will sit out the second game of his three-match ban against the Canaries.

Louis Moult has recently returned to full training after 18 months out, but is unlikely to play a part as he works his way back to full match fitness.

Declan Rudd and Patrick Bauer remain out, and are unlikely to play before the end of the season.

Norwich City have been hit by a string of casualties in the last week, with the international break taking a real toll on Daniel Farke's squad. 

A number of City players featured for their countries in midweek, and the club have been unable to confirm their availability as they await the all-clear from their Covid-19 tests. 

Christoph Zimmermann has been ruled out for four to six weeks following a hamstring injury he picked up in training.

Lukas Rupp and Adam Idah are also ruled out, with the latter recovering from hernia surgery. 

Ben Gibson will miss the remainder of the season with an ankle ligament injury he picked up in their previous game against Blackburn.

  • Predicted lineups

Preston (4-2-3-1):

Iversen; Van den Berg, Huntington, Storey, Rafferty; Ledson; Whiteman; Sinclair, Johnson, Barkhuizen; Evans.

Norwich (4-2-3-1):

Krul; Aarons, Hanley, Tettey, Quintilla; McLean, Vrancic; Buendia, Cantwell, Dowell; Hugill.

  • Ones to watch

Sepp Van den Berg

19-year-old versatile defender Van den Berg joined the Lilywhites in January on loan from Liverpool, and has put in some stand-out performances so far in a white and navy shirt. 

Standing at 6'2, he will hope to use his towering height to try to capitalise in both boxes against a weakened Norwich side. He can also turn provider, after creating the most chances of any player in their last game against Luton (2). 

Emi Buendia

The Canaries' main creative outlet has arguably been the best player in the Championship this season.

With 10 goals and 12 assists in 31 league appearances, the Argentine midfielder is enjoying his best season to date as a Norwich player after joining the club in 2018.

In an injury-hit side, Daniel Farke will once again look to his star man to provide and create for his teammates, as he has been doing so effortlessly all season long.

  • Previous meetings

The reverse fixture between the two saw the teams share the spoils in an entertaining 2-2 draw at Carrow Road in September. 1,000 fans were in attendance as Covid-19 restrictions were eased.

The last game at Deepdale saw Norwich run out 4-2 winners in an emphatic FA Cup victory in January 2020.

Adam Idah was the hero that day, as he grabbed his first professional hat-trick. 

  • Where to watch

The game kicks off at 15:00 BST on Friday April 2.

Match passes for iFollow coverage can be purchased from either club's website for £10 for customers in the UK and Ireland.

  • What the managers have said

North End interim boss Frankie McAvoy spoke to the club's media channel of his pride in taking charge of the club for the first time, he said: 

“It will be the ultimate pride, as it has been every time I walk out at Deepdale. It will be a proud day for me, a proud day for my family and hopefully we get the right outcome."

He insisted that his focus has been on his own players, rather than the danger of the opposition.

"I will be very mindful of Norwich as a team and very respectful of where they are in the league, but to be brutally honest, most of the focus we have had has been on us and that’s what I think it should be."

A lot of the onus was on fitness updates in Norwich boss Daniel Farke's press conference to the media on Thursday, he said:

"I can confirm that we won’t put all eight (players that played on Wednesday) in the line up at Preston. That wouldn’t make sense. We have to be smart in terms of what we do and who plays. 

“Lads like Tim Krul, Orjan Nyland and Onel Hernandez got back to the UK earlier in the week. They were able to return negative Covid tests and are available. But this is a tricky situation.” 

 

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