Match Preview | Cardiff City vs. Preston North End
OPPOSITION FOCUS | IN THE DUGOUT
On the touchline for the Lilywhites this season is Ryan Lowe, who was appointed in December 2021.
During his playing career, Lowe spent most of his time in the EFL, representing the likes of Shrewsbury Town, Bury, MK Dons, Tranmere Rovers and Crewe Alexandra.
His time in management so far has been hugely successful, impressing firstly at Bury, where he led them to promotion to League One during his one season at the club.
Making the move to Plymouth Argyle, success followed once more, guiding them to a third-placed finish and promotion back to League One at the first time of asking.
Argyle more than held their own under Lowe in the third-tier, with the manager departing for Preston North End in December, leaving his second club in management fourth in the League One table.
After finishing 13th in the Championship last season, the Lilywhites are remarkably yet to concede a goal in their opening five fixtures, recording four goalless draws and a 1-0 victory over Luton Town.
OPPOSITION FOCUS | SUMMER SIGNINGS
Lowe has been busy in this summer’s transfer market, bringing in six new faces to Deepdale.
The goalkeeping department has been bolstered by the arrivals of both David Cornell and Freddie Woodman from Peterborough United and Newcastle United respectively.
Also signing for the Lilywhites are Ben Woodburn and Robbie Brady, both following the expiration of their contracts at Liverpool and Bournemouth. The new wingers will add further creativity to Saturday’s opponents.
Lowe has also utilised the loan market this summer, bringing in promising striker Troy Parrott from Tottenham Hotspur and left-back Álvaro Fernandez from Manchester United. Parrott spent last season on loan at MK Dons, where he netted eight league goals, while Fernandez’s move to Deepdale is his first taste of regular men’s football.
OPPOSITION FOCUS | KEY PLAYERS
Midfielder Alan Browne has been a fantastic servant for the Lilywhites since making the move from Cork City in 2014. He has amassed an impressive tally of 300 league appearances, scoring 27 times, whilst also making 22 caps for the Republic of Ireland. Last season, Browne chipped in with five goals and four assists, whilst providing invaluable leadership as captain.
Fellow midfielder Ryan Ledson is another who has impressed since making the switch to Deepdale from Oxford United in 2018. Having shown a lot of promise in his youth days at Everton, Ledson has now established himself as a talented Championship midfielder, with 100 league appearances to his name.
Loan signing Parrott is highly rated by Premier League outfit Tottenham Hotspur and had a productive spell at MK Dons last season. With the striker keen to prove his worth in the second-tier, he will provide a threat for the Lilywhites this campaign.
CLUB CONNECTIONS | BLUEBIRDS AND LILYWHITES
There have been a number of players who have recently represented both the Lilywhites and the Bluebirds.
Last season, striker Jordan Hugill spent time in the Welsh capital on loan from Norwich City, scoring four league goals. The attacker spent four years with Preston North End, where he amassed over 100 league appearances, attracting Premier League outfit West Ham United to make the move for his signature.
Left-back Greg Cunningham is another to represent both clubs, having joined the Bluebirds from Deepdale in 2018, following the club’s promotion to the Premier League. Making 12 appearances for City, Cunningham returned to his former club in 2021, where he is now an important part of Lowe’s squad.
Winger Josh Murphy made the move to CCS in the same summer as Cunningham, signing from Norwich City. Impressing during his first season at the club in the Premier League, Murphy spent time on loan with the Lilywhites in the 2021/22 season, before making a permanent switch to Oxford United this summer.
Having impressed during a two-year spell at Chesterfield, striker Eoin Doyle joined Cardiff City in 2015, scoring five league goals in 16 appearances during his time in the Welsh capital. Securing a loan move at Preston North End, Doyle made an impression, as the loan was made permanent in the summer transfer window.