please log in to view this image v please log in to view this image please log in to view this image LAST TIME OUT BRENTFORD 1 PRESTON NORTH END 0 please log in to view this image BIRMINGHAM CITY 1 CHARLTON ATHLETIC 1 please log in to view this image FORM GUIDE MAX 25 POINTS PRESTON NORTH END 8 BIRMINGHAN CITY 1 THE MAN IN THE MIDDLE The man with two brains please log in to view this image For the fourth time this season Preston North End will have Steve Martin as the match official, when we face Birmingham City at Deepdale on Saturday. The match official was the referee for our opening day game down at Millwall, the 1-0 victory over the Blues at St Andrews in today’s reverse fixture and the 3-2 comeback victory over Blackburn Rovers. Steve also had whistle for the Millwall away game last season as well, when Alex Neil’s men came out 3-1 winners, back in February 2019 at The Den. That was one of the match official’s three games officiating both North End in 2018/19, the others being PNE’s wins at Nottingham Forest and at home to Ipswich Town – that visit to PR1 being back in April 2019, when we ran out 4-0 winners. Since coming onto the EFL lists back in 2012/13, the Staffordshire referee has officiated many North End games, at least one a season for all the years he has been on the league groupings. His first game was a goalless draw against Leyton Orient back in March 2013, whilst other memorable games include our 3-0 win at Havant & Waterlooville in the FA Cup in 2014, a 3-0 home win over Cardiff City in 2016 and a 3-1 win at Oldham’s Boundary Park in 2014. He has taken charge of 35 games so far this season, issuing 86 cautions and two red cards. This will be his third City game of the season; as well as our match at St Andrews, he also refereed their match with Brentford in the second city, which ended 1-1 in February. The other members of the third team involved in Saturday’s game are assistants Andrew Fox and George Russell and fourth official Seb Stockbridge. MACS MEMORIES BIRMINGHAM 6 APRIL 1968 please log in to view this image The game finished 0-0, we had a goal disallowed, which when shown the day after on Granada TV clearly showed the Blues keeper had dropped the ball before Willie Irvine put if into the net, The match was important for one specific reason it was my first at Deepdale. The play off semi final in May 2001 was also epic but the goalless draw shades it. THE MATCH City's point in midweek will just about will make them safe, the Blues are managerless following Pep Clotet's early departure. Steve Spooner is in charge for the time being until the Blues apart a new permanent manager. The club have not had a good recent history going back to the sacking of Gary Rowett, seems to be no stability, Squad wise Jutkiewicz has scored 15 in a struggling side, supported up front by Scott Horgan. Youngster Jude Bellingham will be available for one of his last games before his move to Dortmund for a reported £30 million fee. As for us it seems a long time since we actually won a home game and as we finally draw the season to a close at Deepdale the Blues represent a good chance for us to actually achieve this. Still a faint chance of the play offs although given Cardiff have to play Hull next Wednesday is probably a gimme, maybe only pride to play for. Hopefully by the time we rock up at Deepdale probably mid September a certain amount of fans will be allowed in.