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Preston North End vs Wycombe Wanderers
Saturday 5th December 2020, k.o. 3pm GMT
Sky Bet Championship
Gareth Ainsworth would - in normal times - receive a hero's welcome as he leads his side back to Deepdale for the first time as a manager, having served the Lilywhites during three different spells as a player, but after the euphoria of fans returning to Adams Park on Wednesday, the Chairboys are back to playing behind closed doors as they visit a Tier 3 zone in Preston.
The Blues boss was famously on the losing team when Wycombe overcame Preston in the 1994 Division Three play-off final, but it's been the north-west club who've held the upper hand in recent encounters, winning both FA Cup meetings in 2013 and 2018, and also claiming a league double in the third tier in 2011/12.
On the scoresheet in the cup clash two years ago was Irishman Daryl Horgan, who produced a dazzling display for North End and now finds himself coming up against his former club for the first time, while Anthony Stewart returns to the scene of his first ever professional appearance in January 2012.
A succession of steady draws was gradually building momentum in the Chairboys camp but the 1-0 loss to Stoke in midweek has just dented that progress momentarily, with multiple injuries in midfield not helping the cause. Preston, on the other hand, bounced back from a heavy loss at Watford to spring a surprise with a 3-2 triumph at Bournemouth on Tuesday.
Last Time Out
Here are the highlights from Wanderers' 1-0 loss to Stoke:
Meanwhile, Preston won 3-2 at Bournemouth:
Wycombe's medical team have been working hard to secure the return from injury of a number of midfield casualties, with Jason McCarthy and Alex Pattison having joined Dominic Gape, Dennis Adeniran and Curtis Thompson in the treatment room. Ryan Tafazolli, Uche Ikpeazu and Darius Charles have also been absent and edge closer to a return.
Preston will be without Patrick Bauer who looks set to miss the rest of the season with an Achilles injury, while Darnell Fisher is suspended and Andrew Hughes, Josh Earl, Paul Gallagher, Louis Moult and Billy Bodin could also be sidelined with injuries.
Wanderers will be in their mango change strip.
Man in the Middle
James Linington has shown just eight yellow cards and no reds in his six games so far this season, which included the Blues' opening day fixture with Rotherham.
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