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Live on Sky Sports: Preston North End v Middlesbrough

9 August 2015

Sky Sports will screen its third Sky Bet Championship match of the opening weekend on Sunday, when newly-promoted Preston North End welcome Middlesbrough to Deepdale.

The fixture gets under way from midday, and will be the final game of an action-packed opening weekend across The Football League.

Click here to see a full list of Football League matches that are going to be screened live on Sky Sports.

Contrasting fortunes

The two sides were dealt alternative hands in the respective Sky Bet Championship and Sky Bet League 1 Play-Off Finals in May, with the results paving the way for them to meet this afternoon.

Hosts Preston left all in their wake throughout the end-of-season knockouts, disposing 4-0 of Chesterfield on aggregate in the semi-finals, before beating Swindon Town by the same scoreline in the Wembley showpiece, as Jermaine Beckford netted a hat-trick.

For Middlesbrough though, their equivalent Final ended in disappointment as they lost 2-0 to Norwich City, dashing hopes of a Premier League return.



Head-to-head

Middlesbrough lead the head-to-head figures, having secured 42 wins to the Lilywhites' 29 in the history of the fixture. There have also been 21 draws.

The two met in the second round of last season's Capital One Cup, where a Lee Tomlin brace sent Boro on their way to a 3-1 victory.

Sunday's clash will be the first league dealings they have had since 2011, and recent history doesn't read well for Simon Grayson's men.
In fact, Preston haven't clinched the three points since April 1972, and Boro have taken five wins from the eight games since.

Summer in brief

The pair have moved to strengthen in the transfer window over the last few months, and both have landed men who have been key for them in the past.

Read more: Football League survey: Middlesbrough tipped for success

Preston's major signing is a striker who has contributed very recently, Jermaine Beckford. The 31-year-old has signed on a permanent basis, and is joined by Paul Gallagher and Greg Cunningham, as well as loan signings Will Keane, Jordan Pickford and Marnick Vermijl.

Boro have also brought in a former player in Stewart Downing, who returns to the club where he started his career. Alex Baptiste arrives with him, as do loan signings Tomas Kalas, Diego Fabbrini and Jack Stephens.

CONFIRMED: Aitor Karanka delighted to capture Stewart Downing. http://t.co/wKBAFFdksY#UTBpic.twitter.com/ogdwddcyoL

— Middlesbrough FC (@Boro) July 16, 2015
Don’t miss it!

Sky Sports' coverage from Deepdale starts at 11:55am and we’ll also be tweeting live updates from @SkyBetChamp.



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