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Opposition Lowdown: In-Form Preston North End

Reading’s second Easter fixture sees the Royals head up to Deepdale to face Preston on Easter Monday. Join us as we take a look at the opposition.

Queens Park Rangers v Preston North End - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Andrew Kearns - CameraSport via Getty Images


Preston finished in 13th place in the Championship last season, for the second season in a row. They currently sit in eighth place following 16 wins, 11 draws and 13 losses. However, their away form has been stronger than their home, with 10 of their wins coming on the road.

Their recent form has been strong, having seen four wins and only one loss in their last five games, with their one defeat coming at high-flying Middlesbrough. The two sides last faced each other back in November, when Preston beat Reading 1-2 at the Select Car Leasing Stadium after two goals from striker Ched Evans.

The boss

Ryan Lowe: Lowe took over as Preston manager in December 2021, following Frankie McAvoy’s sacking. The former striker started his managerial career at Bury in 2018 and had a strong start to his new career, guiding the club to promotion to League One after a 2nd-placed finish, while winning three manager of the month awards along the way.

He left Bury that summer, dropping back down to League Two to join Plymouth Argyle. Lowe helped Plymouth secure promotion back to League One in his first season, with the club finishing third in the league.

He kept the side in League One the following season, before joining Preston midway through the 2021/22 season. Preston usually adopt a 3-5-2 formation with Lowe liking his sides to have an aggressive style of play.

Reading v Preston North End - Sky Bet Championship Photo by David Horton - CameraSport via Getty Images


Preston utlilised the loan market in the January transfer window, bringing in strikers Liam Delap and Tom Cannon from Manchester City and Everton respectively. They also signed midfielder Josh Onomah on a deal until the end of the season, following his release from Premier League Fulham.

Striker Ched Evans, who scored twice against the Royals earlier on this season, will miss out as he requires surgery for a serious medical condition. Midfielder Ali McCann will also miss out with a thigh injury, while right back Alan Cunningham and striker Emil Riis will both be out for the rest of the season with hamstring and knee injuries. Captain Alan Browne is a doubt after limping off in Preston’s last game against QPR.

Expected line-up

Woodman, Hughes, Storey, Lindsay, Whiteman, Potts, Onomah, Johnson, Brady, Parrott, Cannon

Key player

Freddie Woodman: Goalkeeper Woodman signed for Preston this summer on a permanent deal from Newcastle United. He started his youth career at Crystal Palace but joined the Newcastle youth team in 2013.

Woodman had a number of loan spells, representing Hartlepool, Crawley Town and Kilmarnock, prior to making his Newcastle debut in January 2018. He went on to make further loan spells with Aberdeen and Swansea City, who he spent back-to-back seasons with from 2019-2021. He made five first-team appearances for Newcastle following his time in Wales, before spending the second half of last season on loan at Bournemouth.

Woodman has represented England at every level from under-16s to under-21s. He is a strong shot stopper and has kept the third-highest number of clean sheets in the Championship this season with 17 to his name so far.

One to watch

Thomas Cannon: Striker Cannon joined Preston on loan during the January transfer window, signing from Everton until the end of the season. The 20-year-old has been at Everton since the age of 10 and made his debut for the Toffees last November, but he has also represented their under-21 side in the EFL Trophy this season, scoring five goals.

Cannon has made 15 appearances for Preston since joining on loan, scoring six goals, with two of those coming in the side’s 2-0 win against QPR on Good Friday. The Irishman plays as a striker and has strong finishing skills, as well as being strong in the air.