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Gaffer Relishing Busy Period

13 December 2012

Manager Graham Westley is looking ahead to seven games in 21 dyas in three different competitions.

The North End boss is hoping that the leg work his team have put in so far this season can pay off over the hectic festive schedule, starting this weekend with a long trip to troubled Portsmouth.

“You relish these moments and this is what I like to think my teams are all about,” he told PNE.Com ahead of the clash at Fratton Park. “As you go Tuesday-Saturday that’s where all the leg work you’ve been doing comes into play.

“You can keep going and we are already seeing this from the stats in our games. We are right up there in terms of shots on our opponents’ goals and down there in terms of the shots we are allowing on our goal. In both regards we are pushing sides very high up the pitch, but we have conceded too many goals from the chances that we are giving sides, which is about ruthlessness in defensive areas and we haven’t been clinical enough with our chances at the other end. 

“All the evidence is there that the leg work that we have done is there; these points suggest we are out-running sides which is why they are not getting shots at our goal, so the quality of the play, allied to the leg work in a period like this, where there are lots of games, physical sides have an advantage.”

The first test of that is against a Portsmouth side who, despite all their off the field problems, have impressed the Lilywhites’ gaffer: “They’ve got some tremendous players there with great backgrounds and great qualities. 

“It can’t be easy being at a club where the financial position is uncertain; we read about players not being paid and you never know when you might have to find yourself a new club and then you have the injury aspect to take into account – how do you go out and compete strongly when you mortgage might now get paid next month? It is not easy for lads. 

“Under all those circumstances I have been impressed by them. They have been competitive, I haven’t seen them pull out of challenges, I have seen them compete well and look really good on the ball. 

“I saw them down at Crawley and they were decent, they performed very well on the day and I saw them again over at Sheffield United and again there were some strong performances. They have got good organisation in their outfit and it’s going to be a big test.

“There’s all that uncertainty hanging over them this week and it can’t be easy. They have had all the repercussions of coming out of the Premier League and we know how hard it is to reorganise a situation when you come out of the Championship into League One – it is a massive change and we have gone about it ruthlessly for the benefit of the Club in the long term.”

Supporters wishing to travel to Portsmouth can pay on the day at no extra cost, whilst coach travel from Deepdale has been reduced to just £15 for all – almost half price – to hopefully allow more North End fans to back their team on one of the longest away days of the season.

Make sure you have a bet on the team to win the game - with our betting service, Bet Butler, you are benefitting the Club with every bet. Also, if you can't make the long trip to Pompey, remember we will have full and uninterrupted live commentary on PNE Player from 2.30pm with Jonathan Breeze and Anthony Wareing. Also on PNE Player now, you can watch a ten minute preview of the game with the manager and also hear from defender on Paul Huntington.

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