Preston v Sunderland preview
Last Updated: 29/09/17 3:01pm
Alex Neil will have the same Preston squad at his disposal as North End prepare to meet their former manager Simon Grayson and his Sunderland side.
Neither Paul Gallagher (illness) nor Ben Pearson (dead leg) will be ready as Grayson makes his first return to Deepdale since leaving this summer after four years at the helm. North End's long-term injuries are captain Tom Clarke (Achilles), fellow defender Greg Cunningham (knee) and back-up goalkeeper Declan Rudd (thigh).
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Callum Robinson came off the bench and scored in midweek so has given Neil food for thought when he picks his starting XI.
Grayson will be looking for a dramatic improvement against his former club after seeing Sunderland slip to a sixth defeat in eight league games at Ipswich in midweek. Grayson made five changes for the trip to Portman Road with two of them seeing Aiden McGeady and Callum McManaman return to the starting line-up, but saw his side go down 5-2 and slip further into the mire.
To make matters worse, defender Marc Wilson limped off six minutes into the second half and John O'Shea, who replaced him, and Tyias Browning are standing by in case he does not recover in time. Duncan Watmore is closing in on a return to first-team action after recovering from knee ligament damage, but fellow striker Lewis Grabban is still battling his way back from a hamstring problem.
The Lilywhites have won their last four matches against Sunderland in all competitions, though this is the first meeting since an FA Cup win in January 2007.
Sunderland have lost five of their last seven league trips to Deepdale (W1 D1) with their only win in this time coming in August 2003.
This will be Simon Grayson's first match against Preston since he departed them at the end of last season - his last game against them was as Huddersfield boss in August 2012, a game they lost 2-0 in the League Cup.
Preston have shipped just one goal in their five home league games this season (W3 D2), in a 1-1 draw with Barnsley.
Tom Barkhuizen has had a hand in five of Preston's last nine goals in the Championship (2 goals, 3 assists).
Sunderland haven't kept a clean sheet in any of their last 13 games in league competition, shipping 28 goals since a 2-0 win at Hull in May.
Will Simon Grayson be heading back to Deepdale and wishing he was sitting in the home dugout? Sunderland's form has been absolutely horrendous while Preston have been riding high. He took a very bold step but he's under real pressure now.
Alex Neil has offered a smooth transition when many thought they might struggle after Grayson left, and he'll be desperate to get three points here, which I think he will.
Prutton predicts: 0-2 (7/1 with Sky Bet)