It will be tough at Preston - Rhodes

Andy Rhodes knows a thing or two about the Blues and today's Championship opponents Preston.

Elvin King

Andy Rhodes knows a thing or two about the Blues and today's Championship opponents Preston.

And he is predicting a tough game for Roy Keane's side as they look to move away from the bottom reaches of the Championship.

Rhodes was goalkeeping coach at Portman Road until the summer of 2008 when he moved to Deepdale.

He joined Sheffield Wednesday last week having followed manager Alan Irvine across the Pennines, but his family is still based in Ipswich and he watched Town's home 1-1 draw with West Brom on Tuesday night.

Although Preston have slipped down the table after qualifying for the play-offs last season, Rhodes says they are still a formidable side.

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“We were second in the league after 10 games and although they are lower than that now I wouldn't say they have suffered a dip,” said Rhodes.

“They like to get the ball down and play and it should be game well worth watching.

“I really enjoyed Tuesday's game at Portman Road with West Brom catching the eye with an impressive display.

“But Ipswich matched them and did really well.

“But they will need to be at the same level to get any reward tomorrow.”

Rhodes, who has bought a second midweek property for himself and son Jordan in Holmfirth where the TV programme 'Last of the Summer Wine' is filmed, was impressed with two Town players in particular against the automatic-promotion chasing Baggies.

“I thought Grant Leadbitter was outstanding while Gareth McAuley was awesome at the back getting in a number of heroic blocks.

“The word coming from within the club is that they still feel they cane rise up to a play-off place, and you cannot right them off yet.”

Rhodes says that Lillywhites keeper Andy Lonergan will be hard to beat.

“Andy is the best in the division as far as I'm concerned and great to work with,” added Rhodes.

“I don't know a great deal about Arran Lee-Barrett. But he has obviously done very well since breaking into the Ipswich first team.”

Rhodes, whose two other children are based with his wife in the Ipswich area, intends to return to Suffolk to live one day.

“It is my based now, but during the week it's easier to live in the north and Holmfirth suits Jordan, who plays for Huddersfield, and myself perfectly.

“After leaving Preston I spent a week helping at Peterborough before switching to Wednesday.

“The involvement with Posh was always going to be short term, and it is fantastic to be back with manager Alan Irvine at Wednesday.”