Preston will be under the stewardship of John Dreyer who takes temporary charge after being assistant manager to Graham Westley who was sacked during the week after yet another poor result. Westley was never the most popular manager at Deepdale and his antics during games were the subject of media attention more than once. It was, however, the results on the park which ultimately decided his fate as his side managed just one win from their last 13 league matches. It was a run of form which, unsurprisingly, saw North End plummet towards the bottom end of the table. They are five points off fourth bottom and have a fight on their hands to halt their current slide.
Despite winning just one of their first 11 matches, Bournemouth are now one of the favourites to be promoted from League One. Since Eddie Howe returned to take charge for a certain spell their ascent to the top end of the table has been quite remarkable. Currently on a five match winning run, they are top of the tree at the moment and the only side in the top six who have managed to remain consistent at the start of 2013. One of their biggest strengths has been the ability to pick up points home and away, as many of the sides in have find it tough to do one or the other. They have lost just one match at home all season whilst they have been defeated just once on their travels in their last 10 matches.
So often after a manager has been sacked there is a positive reaction from the players. This is usually because there has been so much negative energy coming from the fans and media and a lot of that is lifted once there is a change in personnel in the hotseat. It remains to be seen whether or not that is the case here as it’s not a new face coming in, but Dreyer may have his own ideas and will be hoping to get off to the best possible start by beating the league leaders infront of his own sides fans.
Four points separate the top seven clubs in League One and with it being so incredibly tight, every point between now and the end of the season is crucial. Following Saturday’s match the Cherries next four games are against sides in the top 10 which will test their title credentials to the full and it makes the visit to Preston even more important as they will be aware of how difficult the next month will be and it’s vital they begin as they mean to go on.
Before the sacking of Westley, an away win would was one of my bets of the week. There was so much negativity surround Deepdale that a Bournemouth side, full of confidence after climbing to the top, would be the last team they would want to face. I’m still selecting the visitors to pick up their sixth successive win but it is with a touch more trepidation than I initially thought.
Bournemouth 23/20 @ Ladbrokes