Deepdale plays host to an FA Cup fourth round tie between Preston North End and Chelsea. Preston North End reached this stage by thrashing Colchester United 7-0, whilst Chelsea were victorious over Watford 5-0.
Curiously, Carlo Ancelotti has named his side already and without doubt it is one strong enough to beat Preston. Hilario, Ferreira, Alex, Terry and Zhirkov make up the back five, Belletti, Ballack, Lampard and Deco the midfield four, whilst Anelka and Sturridge are paired in attack.
Compare this to the side that played Preston in the FA Cup fifth round in 2002: Cudicini, Stanic, Desailly, Petit and Babayaro at the back, Zola, Lampard, Dalla Bona and Le Saux in midfield and Gudjohnsen and Hasselbaink up front. Chelsea won 3-1, Gudjohnsen and Hasselbaink scoring after going behind early, Mikael Forssell wrapping up the win in added time. Preston were managed by a young David Moyes at the time.
Since advancing to the fourth round, Preston have appointed a new manager in 37 year old Darren Ferguson, son of Sir Alex. His only match in charge thus far was a 4-2 away defeat to Bristol City.
Preston defender Sean St Ledger will come up against Nicolas Anelka for the first time since the controversial World Cup qualification play off. Rod Wallace and Neil Mellor, once the new Ian Rush, are two players with Premiership experience who will line up for Preston.
Daniel Sturrige will be looking to step up again after his two goal showing against Watford, whilst the versatile Belletti’s value is once again demonstrated by his selection in midfield. Ferreira, Alex and Zhirkov will look to impress for a regular place in defence.
Ladbrokes are offering very long odds on a Preston “cupset”, the home side are 9/1 to win. The draw is paying 9/2, whilst the Chelsea victory is a very short 2/7.