• Ben Jones/ @jonesbennn

Pre-match Report: Preston North End

Finally, after what seems like forever, Manchester City are back in action as they face Preston North End in a pre-season friendly at the Academy Stadium behind closed doors.

The game was supposed to be the first sighting of the 2021/22 team that City fans would have but due to a rising of covid cases in the academy, we’ll have to wait a little longer before we see the boys in sky blue.

Pep Guardiola watches on as the first City players return to the CFA ahead of the new season (Image Credit: @ManCity)

It’ll be a much changed side going into the friendly however and not only because it’s pre-season. The first group of City players returned to training last week which included captain Fernandinho, star winger Riyad Mahrez and the ever-cheerful Benjamin Mendy.

Due to the European Championships being held this summer, household names are yet to return as they get themselves some well-deserved rest ahead of another big season where they fight on all four fronts once more.

The colossal at the back in Ruben Dias reported to training Monday alongside countrymen Joao Cancelo with Zack Steffan and Nathan Ake being two other first teamers that returned to the City Football Academy ahead of the new season.

We are unlikely to see the likes of Dias and Cancelo against Preston as they will need to get their fitness back up before City do duel with Leicester City for the Community Shield and the first honours of the season in a few weeks’ time.

Ruben Dias reports for duty as he prepares for the new season (Image Credit: @ManCity)

Expect a blend of youth and experience as Pep Guardiola looks to see where some of the academy players are at and whether they could be useful in the season ahead.

Championship side Preston North End are the visitors and unlike City, they have had a busy pre-season period as they continue prepare for their campaign to get underway in a few weeks’ time.

This is the Lilywhites’ sixth game with another two to follow before they get underway for real. Two wins, two draws and a loss has given the side good prep heading into this friendly.

We could see a Preston side that is close to full strength as manager Frankie McAvoy looks to find the finishing touches to his team that will do battle with Wigan in their first league game on August 7.

You can watch the friendly on City+ where kick off is at 7 PM.

Written by Ben/@jonesbennn