Match Preview | Cardiff City vs. Preston North End
Mick McCarthy’s men will take on Preston North End at Cardiff City Stadium this weekend. The Lilywhites travel to the Welsh capital on Saturday, February 20th, with the match getting underway at 3pm.
How do I watch the match?
A Cardiff City TV Match Pass can be purchased now for just £10 in the UK & Ireland. International Match Passes are available for just £7 per game, or £20 a month.
Cardiff City TV's broadcast includes a pre-match show ahead of a multi-camera production, with current Academy Head of Coaching, David Hughes, joining the commentary team for Saturday's match.
Supporters in the UK & Ireland can also purchase a Commentary Pass for £5 a month, or for just £20 for the remainder of the 2020/21 campaign.
How can I purchase the matchday programme?
There are two ways to get hold of the Cardiff City vs. Preston North End matchday programme.
The Bluebird – edition 16 for 2020/21, featuring Marlon Pack as cover star and feature interview, can be ordered and delivered in its traditional print format from Cardiff City FC SuperStore. Click here to buy your copy!
The Bluebird is now available digitally as well as in its traditional print format. The Preston North End edition will be available to download at 5pm on Friday, February 19th!
Individual digital copies of The Bluebird can be purchased before each game for £1.99 per edition.
Mick pre-Preston | We won’t get carried away
City boss Mick McCarthy held a pre-match press conference ahead of Saturday’s clash with North End, urging his side to continue their winning run.
“It just shows you where we’ve come from to where we are, when we’ve had those four wins on the bounce. Now we’ve just got to keep going.
“Starting to get carried away is not something I’m going to do, and I won’t allow anybody else to.
“I don’t think it matters as much whether you are home or away anymore. So, it’s up to us to make sure that we get another good home result.”
Opposition Focus: Season so far
Following the midweek round of matches, Preston currently occupy 13th position in the Championship table. The Lilywhites have picked up 39 points from their 30 league matches, the same amount as both Millwall and Bristol City; North End sit in between the Lions and the Robins on the virtue of goal difference. Alex Neil’s side have recorded 12 wins and 15 defeats this term, with just three draws all season.
An inconsistent start to the campaign dented Preston’s hopes of bettering the 9th place finish they achieved last season. Save for a three-match winning run at the end of December, North End have been unable to put together a sustained spell of victories, which has seen them climb no higher than 10th position. However, they have picked up eight league wins on the road this season - the joint-second highest amount in the division - compared to just four at Deepdale.
Neil’s men come into our weekend meeting with just two victories to their name in 2021, which came against Birmingham City and Blackburn Rovers. Their win over Rovers in the recent Lancashire derby was Preston’s only victory from their past five fixtures, with North End recording one draw and three defeats from the other matches. In their most recent outing, they fell to a narrow 1-0 loss against Watford, with a second half penalty from João Pedro settling the contest.
Opposition Focus: Winter window
The January window was an extremely busy one for North End, who made eight signings but also saw eight players leave the club. Alex Neil began his winter business with the addition of midfielder Ben Whiteman from Doncaster Rovers; the playmaker recorded five goals and five assists during the first half of the campaign. Preston also brought Greg Cunningham back to Deepdale, following a two-and-a-half-year spell in the Welsh capital. The left back, who made 14 appearances for the Bluebirds, scored the opener on his second full debut for the club.
North End also added three young loanees, who all came in from Premier League clubs. Goalkeeper Daniel Iversen, who joined from Leicester City, has already made seven appearances between the sticks, keeping two clean sheets. Two players arrived from Merseyside: winger Anthony Gordon signed from Everton, and Dutch defender Sepp van den Berg joined from Liverpool, both until the end of the campaign.
Three first team regulars departed Deepdale during the winter window, with one heading for the Premier League. Ben Davies, who had been heavily linked with Celtic, signed a deadline day deal with Liverpool, allowing for the loan transfer of Van den Berg in the other direction. Meanwhile, right-back Darnell Fisher and midfielder Ben Pearson joined Championship rivals, signing for Middlesbrough and AFC Bournemouth respectively.
Opposition Focus: Ones to watch
Ched Evans arrived at Deepdale during the January transfer window, with his initial loan move from Fleetwood Town being made permanent alongside Cunningham on February 6th. The 32-year-old has plenty of Championship experience from his previous spells with Norwich City and Sheffield United, and has quickly become Alex Neil’s focal point in attack. The Welsh striker has started Preston’s last three matches, and scored on his full debut against Rotherham United earlier this month.
Alan Browne was handed the captain’s armband ahead of the current campaign, and recently signed a new three-and-a-half-year deal with North End. The 25-year-old, who signed for the club in 2014, usually plays as a central midfielder, but has recently shown his versatility by filling in at right-back. The Republic of Ireland international, who earned six caps under Bluebirds’ boss Mick McCarthy, has scored three goals for Preston this season, also recording two assists.
Ryan Ledson has become an integral part of Alex Neil’s North End side since his arrival at the club from Oxford United in 2018. Operating in central midfield, Ledson has missed just three of the Lilywhites’ league fixtures this term, providing four assists from the middle of the park, the most of any Preston player. The 23-year-old did not feature against Watford last time out, but could return to the squad for Saturday’s match in South Wales.