Preston vs Tottenham predictions: Spurs to squeeze through
- Nine of Tottenham's 15 wins this season have been by exactly one goal
- Five of Preston's 11 defeats in 2022-23 have been by one-goal margins
- Recommended bet: Tottenham to win by 1 goal
After correctly predicting Chelsea to avoid defeat at Liverpool last Saturday, Simon Barlow now assesses Tottenham's trip to Preston in the FA Cup.
Preston put their Championship campaign on hold to chase FA Cup giant-killing glory when Tottenham visit Deepdale in the fourth round on Saturday evening.
These two clubs, who are both nicknamed the Lilywhites, are in similar form with Preston sitting 11th in the Championship after two wins and three defeats in their last five games while Spurs occupy fifth spot in the Premier League following an identical run.
Ryan Lowe's side knocked Huddersfield out in round three while Antonio Conte's men booked their place in the fourth round with a 1-0 victory at home to Portsmouth.
Spurs have suffered demoralising defeats to Arsenal and Manchester City since then but Harry Kane's winner got them back on track against Fulham on Monday as he chases Jimmy Greaves' all-time goalscoring record for the club.
On-loan Manchester City forward Liam Delap is cup-tied for this one, having played in the third round for Stoke City before transferring to Deepdale.
Another loanee, Tottenham's Troy Parrott, cannot face his parent club, so Ched Evans and Thomas Cannon should spearhead the home side's attack.
Emil Riis Jakobsen is injured and Sean Maguire left Preston to sign a permanent deal with Coventry this week.
Midfielders Ben Whiteman and Brad Potts look set to miss out through injury but Manchester United's on-loan wing-back Alvaro Fernandez should start on the left-hand side of a 3-5-2 formation.
For Spurs, Conte must decide whether to rest Kane — who has been suffering from illness — from his starting line-up and give Richarlison his first start since the World Cup.
New signing Arnaut Danjuma, who has joined on loan from Villarreal for the remainder of the season, is available but will probably start on the bench with Heung-Min Son and Dejan Kulusevski tipped to start in the wide roles.
Lucas Moura is still out with a tendon problem, while Bryan Gil has not featured since the North London Derby and could miss out again.
Fraser Forster will probably be rotated in to replace under-fire Spurs skipper Hugo Lloris in goal while Japhet Tanganga and Clement Lenglet are due recalls, which would enable Conte to rest Cristian Romero and Ben Davies.
Kane was understood to have equalled Greaves' long-standing record of 266 goals for Spurs earlier in the week.
However, two goals that Greaves scored in the 1962 Charity Shield seem to have been omitted from the legend's tally and there is some debate over whether or not they should count.
Kane has scored 14 goals in his last 14 appearances in the FA Cup for Tottenham, which includes netting their winner in the third round against Portsmouth.
Preston have not progressed beyond the fourth round of the FA Cup since the 2014-15 campaign and have not faced Tottenham in any competition since September 2009, when they lost 5-1 in a League Cup tie at Deepdale with Peter Crouch scoring a hat-trick.
Conte's Tottenham usually set up to invite teams on to them in the Premier League in a bid to create scoring opportunities in transition but Preston are unlikely to let that happen.
North End's results are much better when they have seen less of the ball as they have won four and drawn one of the six games when their share of possession has been 35% or lower.
So there could be times in this game when the football is not that great to watch with neither side willing to risk too much in attack.
Spurs have the quality to win a game of few chances, but there might not be enough of a difference in the teams' form and confidence levels for the visitors to achieve a convincing victory.
Tottenham could only beat League One Portsmouth by a single goal in the previous round and that has tended to be the way for them in a season where nine of their 15 wins have been by the minimum margin.