Defences win Championships, but they also stave off relegation.

Preston North End are the latest side proving that theory, as they kick off Saturday's game four points and three places better off than Huddersfield Town - even though they have scored 14 fewer goals.

Simon Grayson has built a solid back line that is the envy of many Championship rivals. Excluding the top ten, only Nottingham Forest and Blackburn have stingier defences than PNE.

Just 27 goals conceded in 29 Championship games tells its own story, and 13 clean sheets already this season for PNE dwarfs Town's effort of six shutouts of 2015/16 to date.

PRESTON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 12: Tom Clarke of Preston North End during the Sky Bet Championship match between Preston North End and Reading at Deepdale on December 12, 2015 in Preston, England. (Photo by Dave Thompson/Getty Images)

Former Town favourite Tom Clarke is at the heart of the back four, and has warned Town that they have a tough job to wrestle any points off Grayson's men at Deepdale at the weekend.

While keeping a consistency of selection across the back four, Grayson has also been savvy in the loan market when filling the goalkeeping gloves.

Like Town with Jed Steer, PNE had great success with a Premier League youngster in Jordan Pickford, and on his return to Sunderland the North End boss moved to bring in former Manchester United stopper Anders Lindegaard from West Brom.

Town haven't won in Preston since November 1969, with the hosts unbeaten in 13 games since that date. And if that statistic is to change, Town will have to be at their best in the opposing penalty area.

PNE have conceded two or more goals only eight times in the league this season, which means chances are likely to be at a premium in Lancashire.

READ MORE: Preston North End v Huddersfield Town: Pick your Terriers XI

READ MORE: Elvis Manu aims for fresh start at Huddersfield Town after loan switch from Brighton

The good news for Town is that they outclassed Grayson's side and were comfortable 3-1 winners in the reverse fixture at the John Smith's Stadium on Boxing Day.

Nahki Wells, o nly three league goals shy of Sergio Aguero since 2012 and Town's most potent striking weapon , was on top form that day and grabbed two goals. More of the same will be essential.

On the other side of the coin, Preston have hit form since. With three wins and two draws from their last seven games, Preston are eighth in the form table - and with a 0-0 against promotion-chasing Derby County last time out to go with a win against Hull just before the New Year, it won't be plain sailing for Town.

Where Preston have struggled is in the goals scored column - they've found the net just 25 times all season.

They've created fewer opportunities and taken fewer shots than the Terriers, but they've also been far less effective with them, which all adds up to a 9.8% conversion rate, compared with Town's 14.2%.

Still without skipper Mark Hudson through suspension, Jonathan Hogg will need to be on high alert in front of the centre backs, especially given Preston's propensity to shoot from range - 45% of their shots have come from outside the 18 yard box.

As a result, it comes as no surprise to see that the men to keep an eye on are both midfielders - top scorer Daniel Johnson has been a huge success since moving from Aston Villa 12 months' ago, while Paul Gallagher should ensure whoever wins the starting left back spot has a busy 90 minutes.

The last time Town failed to score in any game was last November - against Middlesbrough, who possess the league's best defensive record.

If they can continue that streak then David Wagner's men will give themselves an excellent chance of taking the points, and completing a most welcome third double of the season to kick off February.