Preston NE v Cardiff City. Match preview

Last updated : 12 September 2017 By Michael Morris

Preston may again be without midfielders Ben Pearson and Daniel Johnson against Cardiff.

The duo missed Saturday's draw with Barnsley, with Pearson sidelined by a dead leg and Johnson sustaining an impact injury in training. Boss Alex Neil had been hopeful of getting at least one back and Johnson will have a late fitness test on his knock but the game is likely to come too soon for Pearson.

North End did have Paul Gallagher (concussion) and John Welsh (calf) return on Saturday, though Tom Clarke (Achilles) and Greg Cunningham (knee) remain out and Declan Rudd (thigh) and Calum Woods (knee) are still working their way back..

Could Danny Ward start tonight?

Cardiff boss Neil Warnock will consider making changes even though his Sky Bet Championship leaders remain unbeaten. Aron Gunnarsson has had a heavy early-season workload with Cardiff and Iceland and could be rested.

Lee Tomlin is also in contention to make his first league start for a month with Loic Damour possibly dropping out from the 1-1 draw at Fulham. Danny Ward - who scored his first Cardiff goal at Fulham - and on-loan midfielder Craig Bryson are pushing for their first Bluebirds' starts.

Opta stats

Preston have won six of their last nine home league games against Cardiff (D1 L2), winning 3-0 last season at Deepdale against the Bluebirds, who were then managed by Paul Trollope.

Neil Warnock has lost just one of his last 16 league games against Preston (W8 D7), when his Crystal Palace side went down 2-0 at Deepdale in August 2008.

Preston have picked up seven points in their first three home games this season, if they beat Cardiff it will be only the second time this century that the Lilywhites have registered double figures after four games (2009-10).

In fact, Preston have lost just one of their last 14 home league games (W8 D5), scoring in each of the last 17.

Cardiff have 16 points after their first six league games - their best start to a league campaign.

Alex Neil:

"I think it's really difficult to play really good football against teams like Cardiff because they are set up to stop you playing. They don't want you to have any part to play in the game and there's nothing wrong with that because we do the same.

"We don't like teams getting on the ball and moving it against us, we want to stop them and we want to force our style of play on them so it's going to be a really hard fought game I think.

"They are performing well at the moment but as with a lot of games it's fine margins. They get a goal towards the later end of the game against Fulham, I've watched the game against Fulham and to be honest the game could have probably gone either way, Fulham had some good chances in the game as well."

Match Officials:

The referee is OLIVER LANGFORD

Assistants: Steven Meredith and James Wilson
Fourth Official: Richard Clark

ko 7:45pm