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What has Santa brought for the likes of Preston North End?

Whilst most of us are enjoying the festivities on Christmas Day, spare a thought for the players who by and large have training ahead of  the Boxing Day games.

Championship side Preston for example, who have a lunchtime kick-off at Carlisle will do a spot of light training before travelling to Cumbria on Christmas day night.

In the Premier League, Liverpool have taken a lesson from last season.

As Simon Mignolet has revealed: “We decided that the schedule is just too busy for the moment. We are all focused on the matches we’ve got during this period.

“Things are going well and we need to keep doing what we’re doing. It’s about ensuring we are well prepared for the next challenge.

“If there needs to be celebrations then we will do it when the time is right. The party can wait until May.”

After giving his side Christmas Day off 12 months ago, boss Brendan Rodgers then had to sit and endure a 3-1 defeat at Stoke City 24 hours later.

This time around there will be no repeat. Liverpool will train at Melwood on Christmas Day as they step up preparations for the crunch Boxing Day showdown against Manchester City.

Rivals City will also be at their training ground on Christmas Day, as manuel Pellegrini tries to grab top spot of their rivals. City will be without Aguero, who has 13 goals in the league so far, with a calf injury for the match at the Etihad.

England goalkeeper Hart made his first Premier League start in almost two months in Saturday's 4-2 win at Fulham and is expected to keep his spot.

In the absence of Pablo Zabaleta and Micah Richards through hamstring injuries, Gael Clichy could be forced to play at right-back.

Currently just a point behind, City could leapfrog Liverpool and take top spot with a win.

Roll on Boxing Day..KN

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