NO BROTHERLY LOVE FOR SAM!
Preston goalie’s sibling’s at Town
NOTCHING a derby-day victory and keeping Preston North End’s automatic promotion quest on track will provide more than enough motivation for Sam Johnstone.
But if the Preston goalkeeper does need another reason to help his side beat Fleetwood today, then getting one over on his younger brother should do the trick.
Johnstone’s 16-yearold sibling Max, also a goalkeeper, is on the Cod Army’s books as a first-year scholar, having joined the Highbury Stadium side last summer.
Already standing at 6ft 5in, the younger Johnstone certainly has the stature to be a success in the game and couldn’t ask for a better role model than his older brother.
The 22-year-old has kept seven clean sheets in 13 games since moving on loan to Deepdale from Manchester United as Preston have entrenched themselves in the top two.
And as they look to extend their lead over the chasing pack by beating local rivals Fleetwood, Johnstone admits the squad are desperate to seize the Lancashire bragging rights.
“All the lads are buzzing – we’ve been training this week, the standards are still high and the lads can’t wait to play,” said Johnstone.
“If you win the game and move a few more points clear of Swindon, then the pressure is on them to catch us. “My little brother plays at Fleetwood as well – he’s only young but he went there in the summer so I will probably see him around the ground.
“I saw him last Sunday and we had a chat about the game. He is happy that I’m here and I’m happy that he is there getting a start in foot- ball. But hopefully it will be me with a smile on my face afterwards.”
Preston will be without four players due to international duty – regulars Callum Robinson and Bailey Wright playing for England U20s and Australia respectively, meaning Calum Woods and Andy Little could be given the nod by manager Simon Grayson.
Gibraltar’s Scott Wiseman and Republic of Ireland U21 Alan Browne are also away with their countries.
Fleetwood haven’t escaped unscathed as Conor McLaughlin is with Northern Ireland while Nick Haughton, Danny Andrew and Jamille Matt are unavailable through injury.
The Cod Army still harbour ambitions of finishing the season in the League One play-off places and a derby victory over Preston would go a long way to boosting those chances.
When the sides met at Deepdale in October, a second-half Joe Garner hat- trick saw the Lilywhites battle back from 2-0 down to win 3-2.
Fleetwood goalkeeper Chris Maxwell said: “It’s one all the lads have been looking forward to, especially since the game at Deepdale.
“It was a crazy game but I think we’ve learned a lot from that – we haven’t taken getting into winning situations for granted since then.
“We’re relishing the opportunity to beat them and, if we do, that could spark a really good run-in.”
BRAGGING RIGHTS: Preston’s Sam Johnstone wants to get one over brother Max, inset