Goalkeeper Steve Simonsen returned to the starting line-up for Tuesday night’s victory away at Scunthorpe United, just in time for a trip to former club Tranmere Rovers.
The 33-year-old custodian missed out on facing his former Sheffield United colleagues last weekend, but is hopeful he can be involved back where it all began when the Lilywhites face the table-toppers at Prenton Park at the weekend.
“I am really looking forward to it,” he told PNE.Com. “I went back last year with Sheffield United and I really enjoyed it and again I am looking forward to it this time.
“I always like to go back to old clubs and old stomping grounds, it is good to go back and one I am looking forward to.
“It has that extra edge, but I want to be involved in every game. That’s what I am pushing for, regardless of who it is against, but if it’s one of your previous clubs it gives it that little bit more.
“I am just delighted to be back in the side really and we picked up three points on Tuesday night when I played as well, which was good.”
Simonsen is not the only former Rovers man in the squad though, with Shane Cansdell-Sherriff, John Welsh and the 2012 Tranmere player of the year David Buchanan – who is hopeful of making a return from injury in time for the game – all set to be reunited with their previous employers on Saturday afternoon.
And Simmo hopes they all get a good welcome, especially after another ex-Birkenhead based player in Iain Hume scored the winner against them on Tuesday night.
“We have got a lot of players going back, so hopefully I won’t be the one the fans divert their boos at!
“We have a few lads who have done well for Tranmere, so hopefully everyone will get a good reception and I am sure Shane and Welshy will be looking forward to it as well.
“I was there when Iain Hume was there and he was just coming through and it was good for us that they lost again on Tuesday night. We have now pegged another three points back on them and it makes the game on Saturday that much bigger.
“It will be a big game as we can go within six points of them if we can win the game. Considering they are top and have been so comfortably top in the last few weeks, they are there to be shot at now and everybody wants to go there and turn them over. They were turned over on Tuesday and we will be looking to do exactly the same on Saturday.”
Simonsen returned to the side for a League game for the first time since Walsall in September and put in some fine saves to help North End defeat the Iron at Glanford Park on Tuesday night and he is now putting the pressure on himself to retain his place in the side.
“It is difficult when you are coming in and out of the side, but the manager knows that I am experienced enough to go into the side and hopefully play well enough whenever he calls on me,” he continued.
“It is down to me now to make sure that I stay in the side. I had a little run six weeks ago and that was great, but now it is down to me to stay in the side and if we can keep winning football matches then hopefully that will keep me in the side.”
And looking ahead to the game itself the North End No.23 says that the players are desperate to get a result for the fans, with another huge away following expected, due to the poor result they got the last time 2,000 North Enders went on the road at Oldham.
“Winning away from home is as important as winning at home. We take it for granted a little bit that we have to win all the home games. Most teams who are looking to win strong sides and win promotion have fantastic home records – we demand that of ourselves. But also, we need to turn the away performances into wins as well.
“We’ve had a couple of good wins now on the road in the last few weeks, but Saturday is another big test and if we can get another win there and three points, then that sets us up nicely I think.
“We want to give the supporters something everything we go out onto the pitch. There was a good support again on Tuesday night. They really made themselves heard and it was delightful that we got three points for them in the end, because we made hard work of it, but Saturday is a good one for the fans.
“It is three o’clock on a Saturday afternoon, local game, nice ground, good away end and I am sure everyone will be looking forward to it,” he added.
click here for the full information.Remember, tickets are on sale from Deepdale right up to 11.30am on Saturday morning, but get yours early to avoid disappointment, with only 2,000 allocated to PNE fans –
The side will be in its all blue away strip at the weekend – the blue kit is on sale from the Club shop and online on www.mypne.com along with the home and pink third strip, why not show your colours and get one for the trip to Tranmere this weekend – buy online at www.mypne.com, over the phone on 0844 856 1965 or in person at the Club’s combined ticket and retail store at Deepdale.