The North End boss believes this is the time of year when the league starts to take shape and he is looking for his side to show their intent from the off, with victory over an Alex side who have had an excellent 2012.
“This is the time of year when my teams typically make their move,” said the 44-year-old. “Whatever you have done up until now, is about putting a platform in place and when you get to this point in time you bank a few back-to-back wins and the whole complexion of your season changes.
“We are looking forward to it. This is when the tough get going and when the men stand up to be counted . The sprint starters come under a little bit of pressure and the true winners start to push themselves through.”
The clash with Steve Davis’ Railwaymen will not be an easy one for the Lilywhites, but it could be easy on the eye for spectators, with both teams renowned for getting the ball down and playing exciting attacking football.
However, the manager is only interested in it being a good game for his side: “We hope it is a good game of football – from our point of view at least.
“Our side has shown in its Cup form this season – we have been victorious in six ties out of seven – a lot more freedom in our play than we have shown in the league. Coming to terms with the priorities of the football club is something the team has struggled with a little bit, retrospectively.
“You look at the form in the cups and ask ‘why have we played with so much adventure and attacking ethos, but stuttered a bit in the league?’. And I think the burden of the expectation and the demand and desire the players are putting on themselves to succeed in the league has probably got the better of them.
“I think they have come to terms with it now and I am feeling a sense of relish as we get to these league games. That burden has diminished and the relish is there.
“Whether we win 1-0 or 10-0, it is irrelevant, we are going to have to work hard to win the game. We want to be thrashing sides here at Deepdale and we want to thrash sides away, but we have to be ready to really dish out thrashings when they are there to be given out, but we know we have to work hard.
“We went to Stevenage and showed how you can put sides to bed. Get on the front foot, stay on it, keep attacking, play with a sense of purpose and let your talent win through.
“I think there is plenty of talent in this team. The likes of Monakana, Holmes and Beavon – you are not going to stop that talent at this level; we just need to keep feeding those lads, keep them attacking, keep them aggressive and there will be punching out plenty of points for us.”
Remember you have an extended opportunity to get tickets for this game on Friday, with the Deepdale ticket and retail store and the ticket hotline – 0844 856 1966 – open from 8am until 8pm, with Ambassadors also able to enjoy 30 per cent off all retail items in store on production of their Ambassador season ticket!