Preston brings international talent to Portland

PORTLAND, Ore. England's Preston North End will bring its internationally talented squad to the United States when they play the Portland Timbers while on its preseason tour on July 28 at PGE Park. The Lillywhites must find a way to fill the scoring void after star English U-21 striker, David Nugent, was sold last week to Portsmouth FC of the English Premier League.

Nugent, who for weeks had expressed interest in playing for an English Premier League (EPL) club, was finally granted his wish as Preston North End and Portsmouth came to an agreement of 6 million pounds for Nugent’s rights. Nugent was Preston’s leading scorer last season with 15 goals.

In Nugent’s absence, the Lillywhites will count on their several other international players as they battle for promotion into the EPL during the 2007-08 season. Preston’s roster includes three players who are currently representing their home country in the 2008 European Championship qualification round.

Goalkeeper Wayne Henderson and 22-year old defender Sean St. Ledger are both members of the Republic of Ireland National Team and have helped their country to a 4-2-1 record in group play of the 2008 European Championship qualification round. Henderson, who started his pro career with EPL club Aston Villa at 17, has been featured in two matches and has allowed two goals.

Preston defender Graham Alexander is the captain of the Scottish National Team and has led his country to a 5-2-0 record in the European Championship qualification round.  Alexander, who has made over 300 appearances with Preston North End, also competed in World Cup qualification matches for Scotland in 2006.

The Lillywhites also have several former international players on their squad including goalkeeper Andy Lonergan, who was a member of England’s U-21 National Team, and defender Patrick Agyemang, who earned three caps with Ghana in qualification matches but was not selected to the 23-man squad for the 2006 World Cup.

Preston North End and its internationally talented roster visit Portland on the second leg of their 2007-08 preseason tour to the U.S. The Lillywhites and the Timbers square off on July 28 at PGE Park at 7 p.m. Convenient and affordable ticket options are available by contacting the Timbers ticket office at (503) 553-5555.