Preston boss will not be fooled

WHILE the marketing department may have a disparaging perspective of Town supporters, there is no disguising the respect Preston North End football staff have for the Blues as a club.

By Derek Davis

WHILE the marketing department may have a disparaging perspective of Town supporters, there is no disguising the respect Preston North End football staff have for the Blues as a club.

North End have dubbed the live televised game tonight as 'The Gentry v The Country Bumpkins', but that is directed more towards the fans than the players.

Lilywhites' supporters have taken to wearing bowler hats, which is a throwback to the 1970s, when the manager, Alan Ball Snr, made his famous comment about Preston followers, saying, 'they are not fans, they are the Gentry' for the way they supported the team.


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Current manager Billy Davies is under no illusion that Ipswich are not just a team from the sticks - he sees them as a slick, top-level outfit.

He said: “Ipswich are a very good side, who have a very good manager and coaches.

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“There are a lot of excellent people at the club. When you go there you can feel the Premiership throughout the club.

“It is a club with a great tradition that has played at the top level in league and European football. They are a top club.”

After going nine games unbeaten in the league, with seven wins and two draws since December 18, fourth-placed Preston are pushing hard to try and catch Sunderland and Wigan for that second automatic promotion place.

This game represents a test of their aspirations, and it is a challenge Davies relishes.

He said: “It's a great game of football, with two teams who like to get forward and score goals.

“Ipswich are the league leaders and a team who have been very consistent but we are coming off a good run and have shown great consistency away and at home.

“The most important thing is three points and, if that means us going and having to scrap for the three points and it not being a wonderful game of football for the fans, then so be it.”

Preston will be without the suspended Eddie Lewis and the American's place on the left side of midfield is likely to be taken by defensive-minded Callum Davidson.

Dickson Etuhu is also a contender for the position but the former Manchester City player has been in poor form of late.

Top scorer Richard Cresswell, with 16 goals, is expected to be partnered by Patrick Agyemang, who has a habit of scoring against Town, although David Nugent is also pushing for a starting spot up front.

Preston have a settled back four and left-back Matt Hill believes Darren Bent will pose the biggest threat.

He said: “Ipswich are clearly a good side and, in Darren Bent, they have a striker who has been tipped to go on to great things.

“We will be wary of his ability to score and the danger he brings.”

Town will be especially wary of Agyemang, who scored against them when he was at Wimbledon and won a penalty for Gillingham against Town in the same season.

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