Preston v Tottenham: North End unlikely to rollover

Ryan Lowe - Preston
Ryan Lowe is eager for his Preston side to make a statement on Saturday

Tottenham travel to Deepdale to face Championship outfit Preston in an intriguing FA Cup fourth round clash on Saturday. Betfair writer Mark O'Haire is expecting a tough test for Spurs...

  • Dogged Preston can be competitive

  • Spurs expected to make changes

  • Tottenham difficult to trust at short prices

Preston bounce back

Preston bounced back from a humbling 4-0 loss at home to Norwich by beating Birmingham 2-1 at St Andrew's last week, maintaining their position in the top-half of the Championship standings. Ryan Ledson and Alan Browne scored within six first-half minutes of each other to put the Lilywhites on their way before a late consolation narrowed the winning margin.

Speaking post-Birmingham, Lowe was pleased with his side's character. He said, "The reaction was brilliant. We don't lack commitment or desire, if anything, it's quality when we get into certain areas. I thought every one of them were a different class. We went back basics, asking the lads to defend and attack well. There was a real determination."

Robbie Brady made an impressive return to the starting XI, whilst Liam Delap also caught the attention up front on his first start for North End after arriving on-loan from Manchester City with Ched Evans on the bench. Head coach Ryan Lowe is also hoping to have injured midfield pair Ben Whiteman and Brad Potts back in the fold for Saturday's FA Cup contest.

Tottenham back to winning ways

Tottenham striker Harry Kane said a team meeting helped Spurs get back on track with a narrow 1-0 win at Fulham on Monday. The England captain scored the only goal with a sweet strike into the bottom corner from just outside the box, to equal Jimmy Greaves' record as the club's all-time top scorer with 266 goals.

It was only Tottenham's second Premier League success in six games and came following back-to-back losses against Arsenal and Manchester City. The victory moved Antonio Conte's charges back to within three points of the Champions League places after only a second league clean sheet since October.

Kane said, "We are a bit behind where we want to be but tonight (Monday) was important. We had a good talk amongst ourselves, just to get back to what we are good at, clean sheets, being compact and hard to break down. Then we know we will have a chance to score and have players who can do that. It was really important to get back to winning ways."

Lucas Moura is the only confirmed injury absentee from Spurs' squad with a heel injury, although Conte is expected to make changes to his XI with the likes of Fraser Forster, Davinson Sanchez, Bryan Gill and Richarlison all likely to be given starting berths.

Spurs strong favourites

Preston and Tottenham haven't faced-off in league action since 1961 but the duo have collided in seven cup clashes in that 62-year period, the most recent of which was won by Spurs 5-1 at Deepdale in a 2009 EFL Cup meeting. Peter Crouch netted a hat-trick with Jermain Defoe and Robbie Keane also getting on the scoresheet for the capital club.

Preston 9.809/1 are big and understandable outsiders with North End rated amongst the bottom-eight of the Championship on Expected Points (xP). The hosts have also endured a difficult campaign at Deepdale, notching only eight goals in 14 league outings (W3-D4-L7), including four successive home defeats in which PNE shipped 11 goals.

Inconsistency has plagued Tottenham 1.364/11 since mid-October, although Spurs have shown reasonable regularity against sides outside of the Premier League's top-four (W1-D3-L2); that sample includes a W5-D3-L0 return on their travels. However, Antonio Conte's much-changed side were far from convincing when hosting Portsmouth in the FA Cup third round.

Goals expected at Deepdale

All 12 of Preston's opening Championship outings produced Under 2.5 Goals 2.305/4, whilst Both Teams To Score 'No' 1.8910/11 clicked in 11 of those 12 showdowns. But the scene has changed since early October with 10 of the Lilywhites' following 16 league dates covering the Over 2.5 Goals 1.594/7 barrier, nine of which also banked for BTTS 1.9520/21 backers.

Tottenham's tussles have tended to produce goal-heavy games. Only Man City's matches in the Premier League have featured more goals, and Spurs have managed to strike at least twice in six of 11 away days in the top-flight. With at least two of Harry Kane, Son Heung-min, Richarlison and Dejan Kulusevski set to play, a repeat could be well within range.

Nevertheless, I'm willing to support a highly-motivated, energetic and awkward Preston side making life difficult for the visitors at Deepdale and am therefore happy to support Preston +1.5 on the Asian Handicap at 1.9620/21. We'll be paid out should North End win, draw or lose by a solitary strike - only a Spurs victory by two goals or more sees the selection lose.

If you're looking for a bigger-priced Bet Builder option, there is 6.005/1 available on Preston +2 Handicap, Harry Kane to score and Over 2.5 Goals.

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Mark's 2022/23 Profit/Loss

Staked: 50 pts

Returned: 51.85 pts

P/L: +1.85 pts

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