Sports Mole previews Wednesday’s EFL Cup third round tie between Preston North End and Brighton & Hove Albion, including team news and injury news.
The home side have reached this stage of the competition with victories over Mansfield Town and Derby County, while Brighton eased past Portsmouth on Thursday evening.
Even in defeat against Chelsea at the start of last week, Graham Potter would have felt encouraged by the performance of his new-look Brighton side.
That opinion was justified on Sunday afternoon as the Seagulls outclassed Newcastle United, with two early goals taking the game away from the Magpies.
In the eyes of their head coach, the display at St James’ Park has set the benchmark ahead of the rest of the campaign as they bid to finish well clear of the 15th spot which they achieved during the last campaign.
Although Tariq Lamptey has received widespread praise for his pace down the right flank, it would be unfair to single out the former Chelsea youngster when many of his teammates are matching his high level.
Potter will select a much-changed lineup for Wednesday’s encounter, but he will no doubt be curious to see whether his second-string can take inspiration from the success in the North-East.
Preston have endured a mixed start to the season, combining a run to this stage of the competition with just one point being recorded from their opening two Championship games.
In Swansea City and Norwich City, they have gone up against opposition who are fancied to earn a place in the top six of the second-tier standings.
Nevertheless, failure to hold onto their lead at Carrow Road on Saturday has left Alex Neil‘s team on the back foot ahead of a tough run of fixtures.
Tom Barkhuizen has netted in each of the wins over Mansfield and Derby, goals which have been scored after a 14-game streak without one at the back-end of last season.
Preston North End EFL Cup form: WW
Preston North End form (all competitions): WLWD
Brighton & Hove Albion EFL Cup form: W
Brighton & Hove Albion form (all competitions): LWW
While Adam Lallana made a return from injury at the weekend, Potter may opt to keep the playmaker among the substitutes.
The starting lineup could be exactly the same as the one which began the 4-0 victory over Portsmouth last Thursday.
Although Yves Bissouma is serving a suspension, he would not have been considered for selection.
Preston will be able to call upon striker Jayden Stockley, who missed the weekend’s game due to having to undergo a coronavirus test.
Preston North End possible starting lineup:
Rudd; Fisher, Bauer, Huntington, Rafferty; Gallagher, Bayliss; Sinclair, Potts, Harrop; Stockley
Brighton & Hove Albion possible starting lineup:
Steele; Molumby, Veltman, Burn, Bernardo; Propper, Stephens; Jahanbakhsh, Gross, Mac Allister; Gyokeres
We say: Preston North End 2-1 Brighton & Hove Albion
Although Brighton are the bigger club, we must take into consideration that Potter will almost certainly rest many of his star players. With that in mind, and having had an extra day’s rest, Preston could emerge victorious on Wednesday night.
Top betting tip
Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting that both teams will score (BTTS – yes) in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.BTTS Yes:curl
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