Manager Graham Westley admitted he had named his team for Tuesday’s JPT northern quarter-final clash with Bury before he had even got home from Fratton Park.
The North End boss spoke ahead of the rearranged trip to Gigg Lane and said that in order to prepare correctly for the clash with the Shakers, he gave the starting XI for the game plenty of warning.
“I named the team Saturday night to the lads,” he said. “It was so they could prepare properly. By the time the lads were in their beds on Saturday, they knew who would be playing on Tuesday.
“The planning was done long before the weekend and it was important they prepared properly, with the long journey back.
“I like to pick the team that will win the game on the day. Some of that can be done in advance – you try to be as strategic as possible in your preparations; obviously some of it depends on injury situations, but we like to structure and organise ourselves so that everyone at the Club is confident in the way we are going to do things and properly planned and prepared for what they about to do.”
The postponement and cancellation of the original tie two weeks ago caused plenty of discussion and column inches, but the manager was not concerned with what had gone before: “They’ve got a couple of players back from injury from the original date, so they will be pleased with that, but the game off and we are not looking back, we are looking forwards.
“We are playing to win tomorrow to get into the regional semi-final and that’s what we want to do.
“The game is our next game and our mindset is always to win the next game. If you get winning into your environment, whether that is in the cups or in the league, it doesn’t matter. Winning is what we are all aiming for.
“We want to be a consistent winning football club again and winning the next game is what we are all about. It is absolutely at the top of the agenda to win the game.
“If you are winning people, you know that ultimately part of winning trophies is to learn to be united, to believe in each other, to keep improving, to keep getting better and if you do these things, ultimately you win games and win trophies .
“The minute you get needy about it, you start putting yourself under undue pressure and I don’t think it pays to put that pressure on anybody. Everyone at the Club wants to win the next football match.”
You can watch an extended ten minute chat with the manager, where he speaks about penalties, the original postponement, the fantastic support from the fanbase and much more on PNE Player now.
Remember, tickets are available in advance from the ticket office or on the day, with adults just £10 - so start Christmas early and get right behind the team at Gigg Lane on Tuesday night.