The Sky Bet Championship promises a number of mouth-watering local rivalries this year – one of which will be played out this weekend when Blackburn Rovers entertain Preston North End in a showdown which dates back to 1888.
But who will claim the bragging rights in the latest instalment of the Lancashire derby?
📅 Match details
Ewood Park will play host to a 15:00 kick-off, as the Lilywhites make the 30-mile round trip to East Lancashire.
Gavin Ward will officiate the derby, with Steven Meredith and Akil Howson named as assistant referees and Geoff Eltringham as fourth official.
👔 At the helm
The Championship’s longest-serving manager Tony Mowbray’s introduction to life in the dugout at Ewood Park wasn’t an overly smooth one, with Rovers suffering relegation to Sky Bet League One just three months after joining the Club. However, the 58-year-old made sure to immediately right those wrongs, as his Blackburn side bounced back at the first time of asking.
And, since then, Rovers have gone from strength-to-strength under the former West Bromwich Albion, Middlesbrough and Coventry City boss’ tutelage, as he embarks on his fifth full season at the helm.
Frankie McAvoy, on the other hand, is a relatively new appointment for the Lilywhites. The Preston boss, who has a strong background in coaching despite not playing himself, first cut his teeth in his native Scotland.
He turned his interim position, following the departure of Alex Neil, into a permanent one in May, with North End finishing the 2020/21 season in 13th place, winning five of their last eight games with the Scotsman in charge and losing just one as McAvoy made a bid for the managerial vacancy.
🔑 Key man
Chilean sensation Ben Brereton Diaz has already hit double figures before Christmas in the League, falling just shy of leading marksman Aleksandar Mitrovic, including a hat-trick in a 5-1 win over Cardiff City in September which helped secure the Sky Bet Championship Player of the Month for September.
Coming into the campaign fresh off his first Copa America campaign, the Stoke-born attacker has provided the firepower for Blackburn, but will he add to his tally in another local derby?
Another international EFL star, Emil Riis Jakobsen, received his first senior call up to the Denmark squad in November, after inking fresh terms with the Lilywhites in October to stay at Deepdale until 2025.
The forward has managed nine goals in 20 appearances to date, proving influential in his side’s start to the season.
📈 Form guide
Two teams yet to taste victory in a local Lancashire affair this season – having both been seen off by Blackpool earlier in the campaign – Blackburn and Preston have seen differing starts to the season.
Unbeaten in their last four, Mowbray’s side climbed to fourth with victory against Stoke City last weekend. Rovers kicked off November with a chastening 7-0 defeat at the hands of Fulham but quickly recovered, going unbeaten for the remainder of the month.
Meanwhile, 17th-placed Preston took seven points from five games in November across the same period.
|The last five|
|Preston North End||
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