Friendlies between the two clubs are quite rare although over the years we've met in pre-season competitions such as the Lancashire Cup and Anglo-Scottish Cup qualifiers.
As it happens my first visit to Deepdale was for such a friendly, but not one played in pre-season. This was on a Friday night in March 1968 when goals from Andy Lochhead and Willie Morgan earned us a 2-2 draw. It was FA Cup 6th round day that weekend so I can only presume ours and Preston's opponents were both still in the cup.
Trips to Preston have not been occasional though over the years, and certainly not for me. I worked there for over fifteen years in the 1970s and 1980s and more recently there were always games at Deepdale with the two clubs in the same division from 1996 until our promotion in 2009.
|Ben Mee is expected to be fit|
We'd sort of been neck and neck for a while, with Preston probably just having the edge, but our promotion changed that and two years later they were relegated to League One where they currently remain.
They offered very little threat in their first two seasons down, ending both seasons in 15th place. It was a period during which they astonishingly appointed Graham Westley as manager, but with him gone and replaced by Simon Grayson it led to a fifth place finish last season which then ended with play-off defeat at the hands of Rotherham.
They lost only seven games all season, just two more than us, but their finishing total of 85 was bettered by four clubs including champions Wolves who reached 103.
They've been listed as one of the favourites for promotion this time. Having brought in Calum Woods, Jamie Jones, Jordan Hugill and Andy Little they've had a good pre-season so far. They lost a prestigious home game against Liverpool but have beaten all of Chorley, Bamber Bridge, FC Halifax and more recently Morecambe on the road.
The last of those games saw them beat Morecambe 2-1 at the Globe Arena last Friday with goals from last season's leading goalscorer Joe Garner and Keith Keane.
Preston used 20 players in the win at Morecambe and Grayson is expected to select from the same players tonight as they go into the final leg of their pre-season with a game against Leicester to follow on Saturday.
Their team at Morecambe was: Jamie Jones (Thorsten Stuckmann), Scott Wiseman (Calum Woods), Tom Clarke (David Buchanan), Jack King, Ben Davies, Paul Gallagher (Scott Laird), Joe Garner (Kevin Davies), John Welsh (Josh Brownhill), Alan Browne (Keith Keane), Will Hayhurst (Neil Kilkenny), Andy Little (Chris Humphrey).
All of Ashley Barnes, Cameron Dummigan, Tom Heaton, Michael Kightly, Steven Reid and Ross Wallace missed out at Accrington whilst Ben Mee went off just before half time.
Mee is expected to be fit tonight, as is Wallace, but for the other four it could be a further wait although none of the injuries are serious and all of them are currently training. If they miss out then they could all be ready for the Blackpool game on Saturday.
With a development squad game at Hyde tonight then it is likely that players such as Nathan Lowe, Luke Conlan, Jadan Hall and Cameron Howieson will travel to Hyde but other than that it could be a similar squad to that used at Accrington.
Sean Dyche is expected to select from: Matt Gilks, Alex Cisak, Kieran Trippier, Luke O'Neill, Michael Duff, Jason Shackell, Kevin Long, Tom Anderson, Ben Mee, Danny Lafferty, Ross Wallace, Dean Marney, David Jones, Steven Hewitt, Matt Taylor, Scott Arfield, Danny Ings, Marvin Sordell, Lukas Jutkiewicz, Jason Gilchrist.
I don't think tonight's game will be just the same as our last visit to Preston when over 17,000 saw us win 2-1. Eddie Howe and Phil Brown were the two managers on that occasion. We came from a goal behind to win with current Southampton players (for now) Jay Rodriguez and Jack Cork getting our goals.
We were edging ever closer to the play offs but the result left Preston bottom of the league and eleven points from safety with 13 games remaining.
None of that Preston team, which included Keith Treacy, will be involved tonight whilst in our team were all of Duff, Marney and Wallace.
The teams were;
Preston: Iain Turner, David Gray, Craig Morgan, Sean St. Ledger, Billy Jones, Paul Coutts (Iain Hume 61), Ian Ashbee, Barry Nicholson, Keith Treacy (Darren Carter 82), Leon Clarke (Eddie Johnson 69), Nathan Ellington. Subs not used: Andy Lonergan, Bailey Wright, Paul Parry, Paul Hayes.
Burnley: Lee Grant, Tyrone Mears, Clarke Carlisle, Michael Duff, Danny Fox, Jack Cork, Dean Marney, Ross Wallace (Wade Elliott 69), Chris Eagles (Graham Alexander 88), Jay Rodriguez, Chris Iwelumo (Charlie Austin 81). Subs not used: Brian Jensen, Andre Bikey, Marvin Bartley, Steven Thompson.