The Bluebirds have won just one of their first four games and are down in 16th, two places below Preston due to an inferior goal difference.
Holding the division's top scorers Blackburn Rovers to a goalless draw last time out can be considered a good result for Cardiff, especially after losing Lee Tomlin to a red card.
That stalemate followed on the back of a 2-1 home loss to Reading - a third straight home defeat for the Bluebirds stretching back into last season.
Indeed, Neil Harris's side have performed better on their travels this calendar year, winning four and drawing one of their last five away matches in the Championship.
That is in stark contrast to Preston's three defeats on the spin at Deepdale in all competitions, including back-to-back 1-0 losses in their opening two league matches this term.
Alex Neil's men did get off the mark with their first victory of the campaign last time out, though, by battling to a 4-2 victory at Brentford.
Scott Sinclair scored twice to inspire a two-goal comeback for Preston - a result that could well prove to be the turning point in their season, even this early on.
The Lilywhites are now seeking back-to-back wins in the league for the first time since February, having endured a pretty terrible run of form post-lockdown.
Consecutive league wins in something Cardiff have not achieved in this fixture since 2008, but Harris will be looking to change that on Sunday.
The Bluebirds' 3-1 win at Preston in June propelled them on their way to a top-six finish last time out, with Robert Glatzel sealing the victory late on in that one.
If City are to have any hope of achieving the same this time, they need to start getting wins on the board. The same is true of Preston, whose campaign could still go either way.
Preston North End Championship form: WDLDLW
Preston North End form (all competitions): LWDLLW
Cardiff City Championship form: LWLWLD
Cardiff City form (all competitions): WLLWLD
Tomlin's red card last time out means that Cardiff will be without their key player this weekend, though Harris hopes to bring in new recruits before Friday's transfer deadline.
Striker Kieffer Moore, who has scored six goals in his last nine league games, should be fit after recovering from a toe injury sustained on international duty with Wales.
Sean Maguire started up top in the win over Brentford but is the favourite to make way here to accommodate Barkhuizen's return.
Former Swansea City winger Sinclair seems certain to retain his place out wide on the left following his brace at the Brentford Community Stadium.
Preston North End possible starting lineup:
Rudd; Rafferty, Bauer, Davies, Hughes; Pearson, Ledson; Potts, Browne, Sinclair; Barkhuizen
Cardiff City possible starting lineup:
Smithies; Osei-Tut, Morrison, Nelson, Cunningham; Ralls, Bacuna, Pack; Murphy, Moore, Hoilett
We say: Preston North End 1-3 Cardiff City
Cardiff tend to do better on their travels than at home, which does not bode well for Preston.
North End have won one of their last seven league games at Deepdale, losing five of those, including a 3-1 loss to Cardiff in June - a scoreline we can see being repeated on Sunday.