North End boss Graham Westley admits that after analysing the first 12 competitive games for his new side he believes everyone is right to have high hopes and expectations for them.
Speaking at his pre-match press conference ahead of the visit of Yeovil Town on Saturday, the Lilywhites’ gaffer looked back on the opening period and felt they were at the level he expected, although their display against Middlesbrough had been a heartening one.
“I have got a lot of what I expected,” he said. “I genuinely thought we’d suffer a couple of set backs when we got together. We were always going to suffer problems we had not faced before as a squad; I’ve seen it all before when building teams.
“What I learned the other night was that we have some way to go in our problem solving, but when we actually get ourselves going and apply ourselves in the right way, there is a lot of quality in the squad and we are right to have high hopes and high expectations of them.”
He side have been plentiful in terms of goalscoring, but have not yet had the clean sheets that the side had during his first few months at the Club at the latter end of 2011/12, so does this concern him?
“The game that we are playing is a lot different,” continued the PNE chief. “We have a lot more pace and more of an attacking thrust to the team. I am sure that the organisation of the team will evolve as time goes by and at the moment we have let a couple of goals slips that we didn’t need to let slip, especially at set plays.
“It is not a cause for concern, it is a fact of life, that as the team evolves it gets stronger.”
The weekend will bring another test and another side different again to the teams faced so far this campaign: “Whatever the opponents bring at the weekend we have ideas of how we are going to approach the game and we are looking forward to it.
“Gary Johnson’s sides are always very similar. I have been fortunate to see them play this year and they are a typical side of his. They are bright, they want to work the football, they have good pace up top and in the wide areas and they are an offensive side. They care for the football and they are bright going forward.
“They started the season very well; they have slipped in recent weeks but they are trying to do something about that in the transfer market. They have brought a lad in from Fulham this week who is a good defender; I know him from his days at Darlington, and they are a tough opponent.
“But Deepdale is a tough place to come to as well. Our job, role and intention is to make sure that it is increasingly difficult for sides as the season goes a long.”
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