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Preston North End vs Fulham Preview: Three questions with Lilywhite Magic

This game is on the road, but Preston has little to play for. Can Fulham exploit their stout defense? Will Fulham's defensive ineptitude allow Preston's weak offense to score? Lilywhite Magic answers these questions and more.

Preston North End v AFC Bournemouth - Capital One Cup Third Round Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Cottagers Confidential: You're probably not going to make the playoff spots, but you're already safe for the year. How do you feel this season has gone?

Lilywhite Magic: This season has been fantastic and we’ve done a hell of a lot better than I expected. I was expecting a bit of a struggle and to be hanging around 17th/18th place at best, so to be in 10th place at this moment in time and practically safe is fantastic.

CC: You seem to have a very stout defense but not a great offense, the exact opposite of Fulham. Do you think Preston's offense will come to life against Fulham's defense or will Fulham's goal scoring be able to break down your defense?

LM: Our offense may ‘come to life’ – we’re capable of creating plenty of chances sometimes (for example against Blackburn on Saturday) but we’re guilty of missing a lot of them – too many in my opinion. However, with Beckford coming back from long-term injury, I’m quite hopeful we’ll start taking more of our chances – he’s a great finisher, and whilst he does miss some chances he’ll always finish one of them.

If he comes as a sub (which is more than likely) then I fancy him to bag at least one.

Defensively we’ve been rather sound this season, however I have noticed one particular weak spot over the past few games in our captain, Tom Clarke. He’s always been ‘Mr Dependable’ and I know some fellow PNE fans will disagree with me, but I’ve noticed how he’s been out-paced a number of times and almost caught out (he was perhaps a tad lucky not to get sent off against QPR on one such occasion when he resorted to shirt-pulling).

I fear this is something the likes of Ross McCormack may exploit.

CC: If there was one player on Preston to watch, who would it be?

LM: Last time I said Bailey Wright – he’s still one of our best players and he’s been key to our solid defence. However, this time I will have to say Paul Gallagher – he’s our main creative outlet and puts in some superb passes and crosses (I recommend watching the highlights from Saturday and watching the ball he put in for Hugill to score). On plenty of occasions he’s given opposition players the runaround and this season he gets in a lot more tackles so his all-round game has improved too.

CC: Could you predict a lineup and score?

LM: I expect the line-up to be the same one as on Saturday against Blackburn:

Lindegaard, Woods, Clarke, Wright, Cunningham, Gallagher, Pearson, Browne, Reach, Garner, Hugill. Subs: Vermijl, Beckford, Johnson, Doyle, Huntington, Robinson, Kirkland.

Also, based on how both teams are defensively and offensively, I have a feeling this will end in another draw: 2-2.