Wycombe Wanderers face what could be a welcome distraction from the league on Saturday as they play host to Preston North End in the third round of the FA Cup.

The Chairboys’ first season in the Championship was always going to be difficult, and although Wanderers have only collected three wins so far, they sit just four points from safety.

READ MORE: Team news: New signing Admiral Muskwe could make his first start for Wycombe against Preston

Gareth Ainsworth’s men have now completed exactly half of their league campaign, with all 23 matches so far played since their only previous cup match this season.

Wycombe kicked off 2020-21 with a narrow defeat on penalties to eventual Carabao Cup semi-finalists Brentford but will be hoping to embark on another FA Cup run.

The club enter at the third-round stage for the first time in their history despite having plenty of experience of the world’s oldest cup competition, first reaching this stage in 1974-75.

They would go on to reach round three on a trio of further occasions before the unforgettable run to the semi-finals in 2000-01.

The Chairboys have also enjoyed a couple of trips to huge Premier League clubs in recent years, losing out in a replay to Aston Villa in 2015-16, and fallowing just short in a fourth-round clash at White Hart Lane in 2016-17.

READ MORE: 'We will definitely be looking to do more business this month' - Ainsworth on transfer targets

However, Wanderers have fallen at the FA Cup’s first hurdle in the last two seasons, so will be looking to put that right against a Preston side that have seen them off twice in the competition in the last eight years.

Those results form part of the Lancashire club’s impressive record against Wycombe, having not lost against the Chairboys since the famous Division 3 play-off final of 1994.

The sides also met just a month ago in the Championship, with strikes from Garath McCleary and Scott Kashket enough for a point for the Chairboys.

Both clubs have already been busy in the January transfer market – Wanderers have added 22-year-old forward Admiral Muskwe to their ranks on loan, while North End have snapped up Jayson Molumby and Ched Evans.

READ MORE: 'You never look at it as revenge' - Ainsworth on previous battles against Preston

That pair of eye-catching additions for Alex Neil’s side will have been made with the ambition of a tilt at the play-offs.

Preston are currently five points away from that mark despite three wins from their last four.

Ainsworth has made no secret of his love for the FA Cup over the years, so should select a strong side, although Dom Gape and Anthony Stewart were still missing for the defeat to Middlesbrough.

There is hope amongst Wanderers fans that Josh Knight’s loan will be extended in the coming days, a deal that would not only strength their chances of remaining in the Championship, but may help them get past Preston and reach the last 32 of the FA Cup.

It kicks-off at 3pm.