Inside track on Preston North End as Sunderland gear up for Championship return

Sunderland face a home clash next Saturday against a Preston North End side which has struggled for goals so far this season.

The Lilywhites have only been able to find the back of the net three times in their opening 10 games, with forwards Emil Riis and Troy Parrott struggling to find their form in the early stages of the campaign.

This could present a good chance for Sunderland to be victorious against their opponent for the first time since 2004, as they have failed to get a result in their previous six fixtures.

The Echo caught up with Preston season ticket holder James Beaver to get his thoughts on what to expect from Preston and what their ambitions are going forward:

The Sunderland squad.


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What are your thoughts on Preston's season so far?

“A poor summer in the transfer market has left us short of quality in the final third. It was obvious to everyone on deadline day that we needed a specialist right wing-back and a striker. Sadly, we signed neither.

“We've been excellent defensively, bar a couple of individual errors against Sheffield United, but going forward we are desperately short of quality and confidence. Unless Riis and Parrott find some form, work will need to be done in the January window if we're to avoid a relegation scrap.”

Is there any Preston North End team news we should be aware of?


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“Luckily, we've been relatively lucky with injuries so far. At the time of writing, we're only missing Ben Woodburn and Bambo Diaby, and they are believed to be back in training.

“The team is unlikely to be drastically different to the line-up against Sheffield United, with a possible shuffle in midfield after Daniel Johnson was left out against the Blades.”

Who are Preston's key dangermen to be wary of?

“In terms of danger men, last season’s top scorer Riis is desperately short of confidence and form. We had high hopes for Parrott and he had a bright start but unfortunately, like Riis, now seems bereft of confidence.


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“Left wing back Alvaro Fernandez, on loan from Manchester United, has looked promising so far and hopefully he can give us a creative spark and will get better as he gets games under his belt.”

What are your thoughts on Sunderland's season upon their return to the Championship?

“Sunderland have done exceptionally well so far and we can only look on enviously at the way Ross Stewart as adapted to the Championship.

"I felt that Tony Mowbray was a strange choice to replace Alex Neil, but the transition appears to have been quite seamless so far.”


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What are Preston North End’s ambitions for the current season?

“In terms of our ambitions, before the transfer window shut, many of us felt we were only a couple of signings away from a decent season, maybe even a push for the play-offs.

“Now sadly, the lack of goals is a huge worry for us and I think a mid-table finish would represent a decent effort with the squad we currently have.”