A weekend that has already been quite decisive in the Sky Bet Championship concludes on Monday evening when two Lancashire sides battle it out at Deepdale as Preston North End host Blackburn Rovers in a derby clash.
If bragging rights were not at stake this would be a much bigger match for the visitors than the hosts. Preston are playing out time on their season while Blackburn can still make the top six but need something from this one to keep those hopes alive.
Where to watch
The match will be shown live and in full on the Sky Sports Football channel with the build-up beginning at 7pm and the kick off coming at Deepdale at 7.30pm.
Preston North End
I think when Preston North End reflect on the season once it is over it will be a disappointing one but it could have been different. They have actually lost the same number of matches as Sheffield United who are sixth but draws have cost them. They have finished all square in 16 contests this season and clearly that is too many to achieve what the Lancashire side would have wanted to do when they embarked on this campaign back in August.
There is definitely more optimism with Ryan Lowe in charge and a strong end to this season can set them up nicely for a crack at what might potentially be a stronger division next term. For this match though Preston will know they have only lost three matches on home turf this term and they will be eager to maintain that record and end the season of one of their more local rivals. They are undefeated in five home matches coming into this one.
At the start of 2022 plenty of Blackburn Rovers fans would have been getting excited about an automatic return to the Premier League. Not four months later there is now every chance they won’t even get the option to achieve promotion through the play-offs. It has been a remarkable slump from where they were to now. February is known as not being their best month but March and April haven’t been a whole lot better and you sense there will be a huge fallout once the season ends if indeed they don’t finish in the top six.
Blackburn have won just two of their last 15 matches and they were against QPR and Derby who were in the middle of slumps at the time. The telling factor in those matches is that they have scored just eight goals and half of them came in those two wins. The form of Ben Brereton-Diaz has fallen off a cliff and nobody has been able to pick up the pieces around him. Rovers head to Deepdale having not won in their last nine on the road.
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Preston are hoping that their skipper Alan Browne and forward Emil Riis will both be able to be involved in this contest but Ched Evans is a doubt with the injury he picked up at Fulham last week. Patrick Bauer is expected to be available.
Blackburn Rovers will have defender Tayo Edun available again after he served his suspension for his red card at Peterborough. Bradley Dack went down in the warm-up at half-time last Monday but he is expected to be fit here.
I get it is never the nicest thing to do to put faith in a side that isn’t playing for anything but at least this is a derby match which should mean more to Preston North End than perhaps their remaining two matches will do. With that in mind, I believe it is worth putting our faith in the home side here. I certainly couldn’t be backing Blackburn Rovers. While their need is greater from this match they have needed something for a while and not been able to find it and recent defeats to Reading and Peterborough really don’t inspire much confidence.
Clearly with Preston liking to draw matches a little too much for my liking I’ll have more than an ounce of draw cover on my side here but they feel like the ones to be on. They are strong at home, can play with a bit more freedom and we saw on Saturday afternoon at Kenilworth Road the advantage that can be, and tend to go well against the better teams on home soil. The entire top seven have all been to Deepdale this season and none of them have left with three points so Preston draw no bet looks the way to attack this contest.
Back Preston North End to beat Blackburn (DNB) for a 3/10 stake at 1.93 with BetVictor
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