Preston North End are likely to be without first-team duo Darnell Fisher and Andrew Hughes, as they travel to Championship leaders Reading tonight.

Veljko Paunovic has guided his new Reading side an unprecedented start to the 2020/21 Sky Bet Championship season – 22 points from their opening nine games and three points clear at the top, and with a game in hand over the rest of the top-six.

Tonight they host Preston North End. Alex Neil’s side plummeted out of play-off contention last season and have started this one slowly as well, taking 10 points from their opening nine and sitting in 16th going into tonight.

As if tonight’s task wasn’t hard enough for Neil, it’s been made all the more difficult as Lancs Live reports that both Fisher and Hughes are likely to miss out on tonight’s trip.

The pairing – Fisher in particular – are regular first-team features at Deepdale. Fisher had missed the majority of this season through injury anyway, but returned in the last against Birmingham, only to limp off after an hour.

Hughes was also involved in that game but is a doubt for tonight having struggled with a hamstring injury.

Preston then might be easy pickings for the Royals tonight who’ve so far scored 17 Championship goals, and conceded just six.

Lucas Joao has so far been their talisman with six in eight league games, and he’ll be hoping to add to that against a Preston team who’ve conceded 12 in the Championship this term.