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PREVIEW | Millers v Lilywhites

30 December 2018

Preston North End are the next team to travel down to the ASSEAL New York Stadium to face Paul Warne’s Rotherham United in the SkyBet Championship on New Year’s Day.

Here we take a look at who the Millers will be facing in our opposition analysis…

In the Dugout

Alex Neil will be in the dugout for Preston on New Year’s Day. The 37-year old was a midfielder during his playing days, starting in the Dunfermline Athletic’s youth academy, before representing Airdrie Barnsley, Mansfield Town and Hamilton, making over 380 career appearances combined. As a player, he also won the Scottish Football League First Division in the 2007/08 season.

As a manager, he started as a player-manager in 2013 with Hamilton, winning the Scottish Premiership Play-Offs in 2013/14. He stayed at Hamilton until January 2015 before becoming manager at Norwich City. In his first season, he guided Norwich to the Premier League via the Play-Offs and has also won one Championship Manager of the Month award; September 2016. After being sacked by Norwich in March 2017, he waited until the summer before being appointed at Preston in July 2017.

Stats

Preston sit 17th position in the SkyBet Championship table, seven points clear of Rotherham going into the game. In their last five games, they have won two, lost two and drew their last game, 1-1 at home, against Aston Villa. After Tammy Abraham’s 45th minute strike put the visitors ahead, Villa Ahmed Elmohamady scored an own goal to secure Preston a point. Preston also haven’t won a game in their last three attempts, with their last win being against Millwall on the 15th December.

Previous Meetings

This is the 58th meeting between these sides, with the first coming in October 1961, ending in a 2-2 draw in the old League Division Two. The Millers have won 19 of these fixtures while Preston have won 16. There has been 22 draws between the sides. Rotherham haven’t won in their last five against Preston, drawing three and losing twice.

The last time Rotherham tasted victory over Preston was back in May 2014 in the second leg of the League One Play-Offs. A 3-1 victory at the ASSEAL New York Stadium guided Rotherham to Wembley. Paul Gallagher opened the scoring for Preston but goals by Wes Thomas, Lee Frecklington and Kieran Agard helped Rotherham to win 4-2 on aggregate.

The last time the sides met was October 2018 at Deepdale with the game ending 1-1. Preston’s Tom Barkhuizen opened the scoring before Michael Smith equalised for the Millers.

Ones to Watch

Our ones to watch start with goalkeeper Declan Rudd. The 27-year old started at Norwich City and had loan spells at Preston twice as well as a spell at Charlton Athletic before joining Preston permanently in June 2017 for an undisclosed fee. He helped Norwich to the Premier League via the Play-Offs in 2015 and has represented England at U16, U17, U19, U20 and U21 level.

In defence, youngster Jordan Storey has stepped up in recent weeks. The 21-year old played at Chard Town and Mere Town before joining Exeter City’s youth academy. After loan spells at Bideford, Tiverton Town and Dorchester City, he helped guide Exeter to the League Two Play-Off Final last season. He joined Preston in June 2018 on a four-year deal for an undisclosed fee.

In midfield, Jamaican international Daniel Johnson is a threat. The 26-year old started at Crystal Palace’s and Aston Villa’s youth academies before having loan spells at Yeovil Town, Chesterfield and Oldham Athletic. He joined Preston in January 2015 for an undisclosed fee, believed to be £50,000. He helped Preston to promotion to the Championship via the Play-Offs in 2015.

Upfront, on-loan Manchester City forward Lukas Nmecha has started in recent games. The 20-year old was born in Germany, but has represented England at U16, U17, U18, U19 and is a current England U21 international. He helped England U21 win the 2018 Toulon Tournament as well as the UEFA European Under-19 Championship in 2017.


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