Preston vs Sunderland predictions: Black Cats to uphold their part of the play-off bargain
- Sunderland have lost just one of their last 10 Championship matches
- Both teams have scored in seven of Sunderland’s last nine games
- Recommended bet: Sunderland to win
Sunderland slipped out of the Championship top six after last week’s home draw with Watford and they need other results to go their way to secure their place in the play-offs while they attempt to win at Preston.
The Black Cats have been on a strong run and should be positive if nothing else, as only three points will do for Tony Mowbray’s side.
However, Preston have won four of their last six games at Deepdale and should be determined to go out on a high, having seen their own play-off push run out of steam.
Preston are without defender Bambo Diaby, who received a four-match ban following an incident in North End’s defeat at Swansea, but hopes are high that midfielder Robbie Brady will be involved after injury.
Ben Whiteman, however, is doubtful to face the Black Cats.
Sunderland boss Mowbray could stick with the team who faced the Hornets last week as the game is set to come too early for central defender Dan Ballard.
While Sunderland need to win to give themselves a chance of reaching the playoffs, they will have to be mindful that Preston are unbeaten in their last seven home matches and have taken a full return from four of those.
They have failed to score in just one of their last eight matches, so there will be work for the visitors to do, but Preston’s last four home victories have all come against teams at the wrong end of the table, and include successes over the relegated trio — Reading, Blackpool and Wigan.
The Black Cats, meanwhile, have been finishing strongly and already-promoted Sheffield United are the only team to have beaten them in their last 10 Championship outings.
Sunderland have failed to score in just one of their last 14 league away games and that was a creditable goalless draw at champions Burnley.
Preston are strong at Deepdale and manager Ryan Lowe insists his team are not on the beach already, although his side have understandably slipped up since falling out of the play-off race, and this could be a difficult game against Sunderland.
While home results have been good, North End have conceded four goals in their last two away games and those are still blows from which it could be difficult to recover.
Sunderland need to get on the front foot because a win is the only chance they will have of finishing above Millwall in sixth, and they still need the Lions to fail to beat Blackburn and for West Brom not to rack up a big win at Swansea.
To not complete their end of the bargain would be unforgivable, so expect the Black Cats to be highly motivated and that should be enough to see them to three points.
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