Preston's season has been mostly highs with a few lows. Their most recent low point came at a crunch moment when they slipped-up against Colchester United on the final day of the regular campaign and that result, coupled with a comprehensive 5-1 win for MK Dons, meant that the Lilywhites had to contend with a place in the play-offs as opposed to an automatic promotion position.
Twenty points separate Simon Grayson's side with Chesterfield who occupy the final play-off place and failure to gain promotion automatically will hard for the manager to accept. Accept it he must however and the focus will now be on overcoming all opposition in the play-offs.
Preston haven't recorded a single defeat since January and they come into this match on the back of twelve successive away wins. This excellent run includes a 2-0 defeat of Chesterfield and we wouldn't be at all surprised if we witness another such result in this first-leg play-off match.
With Jermaine Beckford and Joe Garner in attack for North End, the visitors will certainly fancy their chances of taking an advantage into the home leg at Deepdale on Sunday, however Peter Cook's Spirites will have nothing to lose and will be going all-out to secure an early goal and piling the pressure on the visitors.
Preston will be having none of it however and will be looking for the win which would go a huge way towards securing a place in the play-off finals at Wembley. If Grayson's side manage to maintain their impressive away form in this crucial match, then we could well be seeing them plying their trade in the Championship next season.
Our betting tips
Preston North End to win - Paddy Power 8/5
Anytime Goalscorer, Joe Garner - Bet365 6/4