Skip to main content Skip to site footer
Match Previews

Preston North End v Chesterfield Play-off Preview

9 May 2015

Sponsored by

After a tightly-fought and hotly-contested first leg, the Spireites and Lilywhites face up again on Sunday at Deepdale with Preston holding a slender 1-0 advantage from the first leg.

Jermaine Beckford's early Proact goal is all that separates the sides after the first 90 minutes of the two-legged tie and the Spireites will know that if they play as well as they did on Thursday evening they will be in with a real chance in the second leg.

With away goals not counting extra in the play-offs the match will go to extra time and then penalties if the two sides are level on aggregate after 90 minutes in Lancashire.

Team News

The main injury worry coming out of Thursday for the Spireites' camp was a left ankle injury to 'keeper Tommy Lee. Chesterfield's number one appeared to twist his ankle making a routine second-half save from Beckford and, though able to complete the match, required medical assistance on the field.

In his pre-match press conference, manager Paul Cook played down Lee's injury, with the club's medical staff continuing to monitor the situation as they head into Sunday.

There was more positive news elsewhere with defender Drew Talbot, who was fit enough to return to the squad in the first leg and was an unused substitute on the night.

Preston emerged from the Proact without any fitness concerns for the Deepdale match and retain forward Callum Robinson - who came on as a substitute in the first leg - in their ranks after Aston Villa allowed their loan man to stay with the Lilywhites for their play-off run.

Form Guide

Preston - who missed out on automatic promotion on the final day of the Sky Bet League 1 season - showed their mettle early in the first leg, shrugging aside their disappointment to race from the traps on Thursday night.

However, after the initial 20 minutes, the Spireites found their feet and played with an attacking intensity that rarely dropped in the remaining 70 minutes of the match.

On Chesterfield's first trip to Preston earlier in the season they again succumbed to an early North End onslaught, trailing 3-0 before an Eoin Doyle hat-trick earned a stunning Spireites point.

Sunday's visitors will have to do it this time without Doyle, but all the sounds coming from the Spireites camp after the first leg were positive and the squad will believe that they have the ability to overturn the deficit, snatch a result and earn a play-off final trip to Wembley.

From the Dugout

At the halfway stage of the semi-final Cook made it clear that the tie is a long way from being over and that his side are still in with a massive chance of turning things around.

He said: "We're getting beaten 1-0, when the referee blows his whistle at Deepdale we're a goal down and there's 90 minutes to go.

"You put yourself in Simon Grayson's position: you've come away from home, you've won 1-0 but you know you're in for a difficult afternoon on Sunday.

"Then you put yourself in my position: we've got to break them down. In the end it's all to play for, irrespective of the score now. The first legs are always awkward, nothing's decided and I don't think 1-0 is a comprehensive scoreline for either team, even if it was us who were 1-0 up."

With three days to draw breath and reassess the tie ahead of the second leg, Cook feels that the start of the match at Deepdale could have a large imprint on how the remainder of the afternoon goes for the two teams.

"The game could go one of two ways," said Cook. "If we score and can take control of the game in terms of possession then the Preston fans will get very agitated, that's logical. If Preston score first and are in the ascendancy it could turn into a carnival atmosphere all about them going to Wembley.

"There's all to play for, we can second guess each other until the cows come home, until we get to Sunday none of us will know."

As ever, there are a variety of ways for Spireites unable to make it to Deepdale to get the full picture of the crucial play-off match. Live commentary of the entire match will be on Spireites Player from noon on Sunday, minute-by-minute coverage will be published on the Chesterfield FC Twitter account, with social media updates on this website's Spireites Wall.

Advertisement block