Manager Graham Westley is looking at Tuesday night’s Capital One Cup clash with Middlesbrough as the ending of the first chapter of the new season.
The North End boss spoke to the press ahead of the visit of Tony Mowbray’s Teesiders and admitted that if his side can come through the tie and gain a place in the fourth round, he will be happy with the way with script has turned out in the opening months, but admits it will not be an easy task against a Middlesbrough side who defeated their divisional table toppers just down the road in East Lancashire on Friday night.
“We will be 12 games into the new season tomorrow night and I see that as the end of the first chapter,” the gaffer said. “The newness I have been talking about comes to an end. We have faced a lot of situations together for the first time; we have made some mistakes and we still have some work to do for the players to understand how I want them to play and for me to understand how they can go about doing the job. We are getting a lot right at home, but we haven’t got it so right away from home, but 12 games in we are all starting to see the picture more clearly.
“If we win on Tuesday night that will give us six wins, three draws and three defeats from our first 12 competitive games and I’d have taken that at the beginning of the season. No one wants to look forward and say they’ll have three defeats in 12 games, but we have to allow some learning time and I think we’ve done that and some of the basic errors are out of the way and the consistency will come.
“I trust the players. They are a good bunch of lads to work with and I know they will only get better.”
The Cup tie brings with it a chance of giantkilling glory, but also financial rewards, both of which the North End chief wants his side to attain: “It is a great opportunity for us as a football club. It means a lot more to us that loftier opponents. The cup competitions are huge in revenue terms for us and if you put the football glory to one side, you have to make sure that for commercial reasons you get it right and as passionate football people we want to win for the glory and for the sake of putting this Club back up where it belongs.
“There are lots of reasons to look forward to it. It will be a much tougher game than the ones we played against Huddersfield and Palace. I am sure Middlesbrough will come here with their front line team and they are a decent outfit.
“I saw them at Blackburn on Friday night. They put in a very strong display; they controlled the tempo of the game, they managed the game very well and they put in some decent football and scored a couple of very good goals. They are a tough side to play against.
“We will have to be right at the top of our game to win it, but win it we can.”
Remember, tickets are on sale now and you can also pay cash at the turnstiles on the night; tickets are £15 for adults, £10 for seniors over 60 and £5 for U16s. Buy online in advance or call 0844 856 1966 during office hours.