Preston v Barnsley - Saturday 15:00
Simon Grayson knows better than anyone the psychological benefits of promotion via the play-offs. His Preston side went about their business with a spring in their step for much of last season but that natural vibrancy is nowhere to be seen now. Not a lot has changed at Deepdale, yet somehow it feels as though everything has.
And that contrast in mood could feel even more profound against Barnsley, a team who have followed in North End's footsteps over the past nine months, carrying a blistering finish to a League One season into the Championship via the euphoria of a comprehensive Wembley triumph. Take the 5/2 available on the away win in this Roses clash.
The Tykes are going about their business fearlessly and scoring goals for fun, netting 13 times in their opening five league outings. The sale of Alfie Mawson to Swansea weakens them defensively and it’s hard to imagine them keeping too many clean sheets in his absence but it’s a problem for which they can compensate by simply staying bullish.
Deepdale is hardly a fortress. Preston won only seven home games despite finishing in the top half last season and they’ve started this campaign with successive defeats to Derby and Fulham. Curiously, five of their eight home setbacks over the past 13 months have been by the odd goal in three and the 12/1 available on Barnsley to win 2-1 is also worth pursuing.