St. Johnstone play Preston North End (PNE) tomorrow evening at 19:00 in a friendly, marking the first match with fans at McDiarmid Park since March 2020 - a 1-0 triumph over Livingston.
Only 1,000 fans have been allowed to attend due to the allocations allowed and only season ticket holders will be at the game, the draw was done last Friday which gave tickets to a fortunate minority.
So some people may be wondering ahead of this friendly match - the first chance to see the double winners in action since the historic acheivement happened - who are Preston North End?
How Good Are They?
Preston's home ground is called "Deepdale Stadium" and has a capacity of 23,404. The stadium was built in 1875, opening in 1878.
[Deepdale from above]
PNE play in the English Championship and have been in the second tier of English football since promotion in 2015 establishing themselves as regulars in the division whilst often challenging in the top half of the table.
Preston finished 13th in the league last season and had a strong end to the campaign, winning 5 of their last 8 following the departure of Alex Neil. The 'Lilywhites' won 18 games in the Championship whilst also making it to the 3rd round of the League Cup (where they succumbed to Brighton 2-0). They crashed out of the FA Cup 4-1 away to Wycombe.
Preston have a decent squad and are a mid table Championship team who have become a solid side in recent years. They are never really threatened with relegation but aren't quite good enough for the play-offs.
[The Preston team celebrate a goal]
Preston are currently managed by former Dunfermline Athletic and Hamilton Academical academy coach Frankie McAvoy. The 54 year old worked with former-manager Alex Neil at Norwich and PNE as first team coach. McAvoy took over as interim manager following Neil's dismissal and was appointed as first team coach following a successful spell in the role at the back end of the season.
[McAvoy leads his team from the sidelines]
Midfielder Alan Browne signed for Preston in 2014 and has been at the club for the last 7 years, making 291 appearances,scoring 35 goals and assisting 16 more. Browne is an all round midfielder, the 26 year-old can play infront of the defense or behind the front line but his main position is in the middle of the park.
Alan is a Republic of Ireland international and has played 14 games whilst bagging 2 goals for his country since 2017. He is one of Preston North End's key players and is club captain whilst also being their "most valuable" player on Transfermarkt - having a market value of £3.6m. He is at the core of PNE's side and will be crucial for them on Tuesday.
[Alan Browne charges forward with the ball]
Jamaican midfielder Daniel Johnson joined Preston in 2015 from Aston Villa spending the last 6 years at the club. He has played 253 games for 'Lilywhites' netting on 48 occasions with 29 assists as well. Johnson mainly plays in central midfield but can also play wide left or in attacking midfield.
Johnson is a Jamaica international who made his debut for the 'Reggae Boyz' in November 2020 and has played 2 games, scoring a sole goal. He is an athletic and fast midfielder who is coming well into his prime at 28 years old. An exciting player who is good on the ball.
[Johnson challenges in the air]
Why Are we Playing Them?
There are a few reasons why Preston North End are playing against 'Saints'. One is that the teams are quite evenly matched which should make for a good game which will make it good preperation for the upcoming season.
Another is that St. Johnstone manager Callum Davidson is a former Preston fan-favorite who spent 7 years of his career at the club which he made the most appearances for of any he played for by a large margin.
[Callum Davidson in action for Preston]
This is also Preston's second Pre-season game following an 8-3 win against Bamber Bridge on Saturday but this is their first game in Scotland of the summer as PNE play Celtic next Saturday at 17:30.
Preston are a good team and will definitely test Saints tomorrow in what should be a good match. As its a friendly it should be a good atmosphere and should be an opportunity to experiment and see the double winners in action.