Stats show Preston North End will survive in the Championship

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Six points from their first eight league games may not look too promising on paper for Preston North End, but barring a dismal day at Griffin Park last weekend, performances and results are improving.

Combined with Simon Grayson’s enviable managerial record, that means there’s no need for the Deepdale faithful to worry this season.

They adapted superbly to life back in the Championship last season following promotion from League One with an 11th-placed finish, with their away form especially impressive, taking 30 points on the road during the campaign.

A big part of that has been North End’s solid defence, with the 45 goals they conceded giving Simon Grayson’s men the best defensive record of any side outside the top six, notching up 15 clean sheets along the way.

The Lilywhites have retained the core of that defence, with the dependable Bailey Wright, Tom Cunningham and Tom Clarke all at Grayson’s disposal, while summer arrival Alex Baptiste has Premier League experience from his time at Blackpool.

Good business was a theme of the summer at Deepdale, with former Man United man Marnick Vermijl signing a permanent deal with the Lancashire outfit while Denmark international Simon Makienok and Aiden McGeady offer Preston a natural target man and a gifted crosser off the ball to produce those opportunities.

Even the exit of fan favourite Joe Garner, who left for Rangers, has been offset by the arrivals of Makienok and Eoin Doyle, with the pair netting a combined five goals in all competitions already.

There’s no doubt Preston are beginning to gel, as their 3-2 victory at Bournemouth in midweek proved, while they also saw off Cardiff City by a 3-0 margin a fortnight back.

Goals are also coming from all over the park, with seven different players having already found the net this season, meaning they’re not over-reliant on a single player for goals, unlike Rotherham United, Bristol City and several other sides in the division.

And there’s no doubt the Lilywhites are in capable hands with Simon Grayson.

The former Leeds United boss has never been relegated in his 10 years as a manager, with none of the four sides he has guided to promotion from League One ever coming close to the drop, with 19th-place his lowest Championship finish, while the 46-year-old guided Leeds to a top-seven finish back in 2010-11.

That all means the 4/1 for Preston to finish in the top-half looks like fantastic value, while the 22/1 for them to finish in the play-off spots is also worth a flutter.

The Lilywhites are in action tonight, with 6/4 for them to beat a Wigan side who have taken just two points from their last six games.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing

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Dave Burin

Dave graduated with an MA in English Literature at Durham University, and worked in marketing before joining the Ladbrokes News team. A Man United fan and avid groundhopper, he’s also an ardent follower of Rugby League. You can usually find him at a ground near you, clutching a big cup of tea.