The North End boss was diverted from, his usual route down the M6 Toll, taking him past the Saddlers’ Bescot Stadium, something that meant his pleasure at the victory over Hartlepool was soon replaced with a sense of purpose that his team must again improve and progress ready for the next challenge.
Looking ahead to the clash with Dean Smith’s side, the gaffer was looking for a steely determination to go and win the next game and not rest on the victory achieved against Hartlepool at Deepdale in midweek.
“I got diverted the other night and got fed off down the M6. It was like fate warning me ‘you’ve had a good result, but here’s where you’re playing next, get focused on the job’. It was a prompt reminder of what lies ahead.
“We have to be ready for the environment, for the stadium, the pitch and the opposition we are playing against. They suffered a reverse the other night, but they had a very good win on the Saturday at Portsmouth, which shows the level they have been capable of this season.
“They won’t be an easy outfit. They’ve got a minus two goal difference, but they have got the same points total as us and we can’t underestimate the challenge that they will bring.”
The game on Tuesday saw five changes to the previous weekend and then Chris Beardsley was forced off just before the break against Hartlepool, making him a doubt, but the PNE chief said that he was more than happy whoever he would be using from his squad.
“You have to trust any member of your squad to do a job,” he continued. “Otherwise there is no point in them being there. When you suffer a reverse, like we did against Crawley, and you want to freshen things up, it pays to have a squad that is in the right physical shape to do the job and I made some changes on Tuesday and they did well.
“Any manager who is worried about keeping his players happy is going down the wrong lines. It pays to have a together outfit and you want to treat your players with respect, but they have to treat the job that they have with respect as well and it is my job to make sure that they are together as a unit; that they want to play for me and the football club, but it is very much a question of them keeping the Club happy and not the other way round.”
Tickets are also still on sale for this fixture - remember prices increase by £2 on the day so get yours in advance from the Deepdale ticket and retail store.