Latics get set for North-West derby at Deepdale.
- Latics visit Preston North End for the first time in 11 years.
- Over 2,500 Latics supporters set to make the trip.
- Latics in search of first away win in 2016/17.
Sky Bet Championship
Preston North End v Wigan Athletic
Friday 23 September 2016, kick off 7.45pm
- TICKETS: Pay on the night available at Deepdale from 6.00pm.
- AWAY INFO: Useful tips ahead of your travel to Preston.
- NEXT UP: Latics return to the DW Stadium on Tuesday to host Wolves.
Latics make their first trip to Preston North End in the league in over a decade this evening, looking to build on last Saturday's 0-0 draw against Fulham in their attempts to secure three points away from home for the first time this season after four difficult away trips against Bristol City, Nottingham Forest, Sheffield Wednesday and Norwich City.
Over 2,500 supporters will back Latics at Deepdale in a game which could see their team rise to as high as 18th in the Sky Bet Championship should Gary Caldwell's side win by a margin of three goals or more, with any victory taking Latics above opponents Preston.
North End bounced back impressively from a 5-0 thrashing at Brentford last weekend, securing a spot in the next round of the EFL Cup with a 3-2 extra win at AFC Bournemouth in midweek thanks to a Simon Makienok hat-trick.
Preston's only home win so far this season saw them dispatch of Cardiff City with relative ease 3-0, but Simon Grayson's side will be tough to beat, having only lost their other three games at Deepdale by fine margins.
PRESTON'S SUMMER PREP
Preparations during the summer saw North End bring in no fewer than 10 players to their squad, firstly securing the services of Eoin Doyle (Cardiff City), Anders Lindegaard (West Bromwich Albion), Callum Robinson (Aston Villa) and Marnick Vermijl (Sheffield Wednesday), all who featured in 2015/16 on loan.
Fleetwood Town goalkeeper Chris Maxwell joined at the end of his contract at Highbury Stadium, as did Tommy Spurr from Blackburn Rovers and creative midfielder Ben Pringle from Fulham.
Grayson used the loan market ahead of the deadline to secure the services of Republic of Ireland international Aiden McGeady from Everton, along with imposing striker Makienok from Palermo and experienced defender Alex Baptiste from newly promoted Premier League side Middlesbrough.
Makienok celebrates his first career hat-trick in midweek win at Bournemouth.
Few players left Deepdale in the summer, with Josh Brownhill (Bristol City), Neil Kilkenny (Melbourne City), Kyel Reid (Coventry City), Chris Kirkland (Bury) and Andy Little (released) all leaving the club, alongside front man Joe Garner who completed a seven-figure transfer to Scottish Premiership side Rangers.
SEASON SO FAR
It's been an inconsistent start for Grayson and Preston so far, but at each hurdle they've fallen at they've quickly picked themselves up.
An opening day 1-0 defeat away at Reading was quickly put to one side with a first round EFL Cup win at home to Hartlepool United, only to suffer back-to-back home defeats in the Championship 2-1 to Fulham and 1-0 to Derby County.
They turned things around the in following game though, fighting their way past Queens Park Rangers at Loftus Road with a 2-0 victory, followed by further progression in the cup thanks to a 2-0 home win against Oldham Athletic courtesy of Doyle and Jordan Hugill.
Back-to-back defeats again stunted progress with a 1-0 loss away at Ipswich Town and a narrow 2-1 defeat at home to Barnsley despite McGeady's first goal for the club.
The 3-0 thrashing of Cardiff at Deepdale once again gave Preston positives thanks to Tom Clarke, Robinson and Hugill, but they couldn't build momentum, losing 5-0 at Brentford in the following match, with four of the five goals coming in the final 16 minutes at Griffin Park.
Knockout blow! Scott Hogan celebrates his hat-trick as Preston drop to 5-0 defeat at Brentford.
Tuesday's EFL Cup win at AFC Bournemouth could go a long way to bouncing back though, with on loan striker Makienok completing his hat-trick in extra time to see Preston through to face Newcastle United in the next round.
It's been 11 years since the 34th league meeting between Latics and Preston back in April 2005, a game which saw Lee McCulloch and Brian O'Neill score in a 1-1 draw to give Latics the upper hand in the Premier League promotion race going into the final game of the 2004/05 Championship season back at the JJB Stadium against Reading.
The point at Deepdale proved priceless in the end as Latics knew a win against the Royals would see them promoted... and the rest as they say is history!
Latics' record with Preston is extremely tight going into tonight's 35th league clash, with 11 victories, 11 draws and 12 defeats.
The last meeting with the Lilywhites in all competitions came six years ago yesterday when two late goals from Jordi Gomez and Charles N'Zogbia cancelled out Keith Treacy's solitary strike in the League Cup at the DW Stadium as Latics won 2-1.
Back on the road, it's been seven consecutive games unbeaten for Latics at Deepdale, dating back to a 1-0 defeat in April 1995 when Preston's Allan Smart clinched the winning goal.
This week we've been building up with some classic footage from games between the two sides, all of which are available below.
JASON ROBERTS' INSTANT IMPACT IN 2004
MATCH BALL FOR BARLOW IN 1999
LOWE OVERHEAD IN 1998