Blackburn missing many defenders
Preston falling short against elite opposition
BTTS has banked in 12 of 16 meetings this century
Blackburn's fourth Championship win in five has pushed Rovers to within three points of the top-six. The Ewood Park outfit ran out comfortable 3-1 winners at Norwich last Sunday with Tyrhys Dolan grabbing the opener before Sammie Szmodics continued his fine form with a double, although Scott Wharton's red card left Rovers down a man for the final 40 minutes.
Despite the dismissal, Jon Dahl Tomasson's team's victory never looked in-doubt and the Blackburn 1.9520/21 boss was full of praise for his players post-match, saying: "I'm delighted with the win, I thought the performance was great. Some of the football we played in the first half was on a very high level and then we defended like lions with a great team spirit."
Rovers have submitted an official appeal to the EFL to have Wharton's red card rescinded. With first-choice centre-backs Dom Hyam and Hayden Carter out of Friday's game and Wharton potentially suspended, Tomasson may require Harry Pickering to fill-in at the heart of defence. Joe Rankin-Costello's injury has also presented problems at full-back for Rovers.
Preston 3.8014/5 earned a first league success in eight as they came from behind to beat Coventry 3-2 at Deepdale last weekend. Duane Holmes and a penalty from captain Alan Browne saw North End recover from a goal down to lead at the interval; Milutin Osmajic added a third in the second-half before the visitors reduced the deficit late on.
The three points returned PNE to the play-off positions with Ryan Lowe particularly pleased with the outcome having described it as "like a basketball match at one point." He added, "I said to the lads, if you want to beat a quality side like Coventry you have to outrun them and outperform them, and they've really worked their socks off and deserved that win."
Lowe is hoping to have defender Andrew Hughes back in the fold for Friday after missing the last six matches. Elsewhere, loan man Calvin Ramsay remains sidelined along with Ali McCann, Jack Whatmough and Emil Riis. Few major changes are expected from the visitors.
With Blackburn struggling for fit and available defenders, it's difficult to support Rovers at odds-on quotes. Even so, Preston's record against top-half Championship teams this term - W1-D2-L4 - suggests we should leave the main 1x2 and handicap markets alone, instead focussing on a pro-goals angle with Both Teams To Score standing out at 1.684/6.
BTTS has banked in 12 of the 16 Lancashire derbies between the pair this century. It has also landed in five of Rovers' seven home showdowns, as well as 10 of PNE's 15 league fixtures thus far. Collectively, the pair have managed only five shutouts in their combined 30 Championship contests, finding the back of the net in 24 of those encounters.