After a positive draw against Wolves, manager Simon Grayson has turned his attention to Blackpool and admits he is looking forward to Monday night.
In an exclusive interview with PNE.Com on the eve of the Capital One Cup first round match at Deepdale, Grayson discussed the intense rivalry between the two sides and how the players will know exactly what this game means to the fans.
“I am looking forward to it,” said the gaffer when asked about the match.
“Obviously my sole thoughts have been on the Wolves game, that has been the main thing, but now this game has come around I can’t wait for it.
“The rivalry is as fierce as any up and down the country.
“When I was at Blackpool, because of not being in the area that much or having sampled any of the games as a player, then probably I didn’t realise that until I came to Deepdale and got absolutely battered by all the supporters and saw how much it meant to the Blackpool fans as well, so from the outside it might look like it’s just a small game, but within this area it means the world to everybody and it is a very, very intense game.
“I think it’s because they are two teams steeped in fantastic history and tradition, these rivalries go back a long, long way and over the course of time there have been some good results, some poor results for
Preston and hopefully we can get a good result come Monday night.
“I don’t think I will have to educate the players on how important this game is, I think the supporters will have let the players know through seeing them after the game yesterday, via social networking, I think the players will understand it and I will let the players know what it is all about anyway and what they need to do, but we need to be focused on the football side of it and not let our hearts rule our heads.
“We need to be composed on the ball and play the game not the occasion, but we also need that intense rivalry inside our bellies which fires us up for another game of football.
“I have experienced derby games between the two teams and it is a fierce rivalry.
“There is going to be no love lost both on the pitch, off the pitch, plenty of stick flying around and it will have all the ingredients of being a great cup tie.”
With the quick turnaround of just over 48 hours between the Wolves and Blackpool games, Grayson knows he may need to call on the depth of his squad for the ‘All White On The Night’ clash and he expects
Seasiders manager Paul Ince to have a similar dilemma to him, in terms of whether to stick or twist with the players that were fielded on Saturday.
Grayson continued: “Any success we are going to have this season is going to be as a squad and not as individuals, so players are going to have to be patient and wait for their opportunity and what I will say is that the players have worked extremely hard over the summer, players have given me food for thought on what they can do and what they can’t do and I think we have got good competition for places now and obviously we will pick a team that will go and try and win the game on Monday night now.
“They had a good result at Doncaster yesterday, I spoke to our scouts this morning who went to the game yesterday and they said there was nothing much in the game, they have obviously got some influential players.
“We will try and decide what’s the best team for us to go and play and I will be second guessing a little bit what Blackpool are going to be playing because it is such a quick turnaround to the Saturday game.
“’Will Blackpool play their team that played at the weekend, will we play that?’, but that’s part and parcel of playing on Monday night.
“Whoever puts on that white jersey and tangerine jersey, then you expect them to give their all.”
With this match being shown live on Sky Sports around the world, the positive vibe around the Club continues to grow at present and Grayson is hopeful that his players can help continue that theme with a win against their greatest rivals from the Fylde coast.
“Full credit to Sky who are looking at our game and that it is one of the biggest draws in the competition in the first round and they have put it on Sky,” added Grayson.
“I am aware that people are trying to make it an ‘All White On The Night’ for Preston North End fans so there will be a sea of white throughout the stadium, it is a great game and hopefully we can do ourselves justice with the performance and it does lift the profile of the Club again being on telly.
“The last few weeks have been good in that respect with the Liverpool game and the game against Wolves and the signing of Kevin Davies and Iain Hume staying, so there is a lot of positivity around the place and now it is down to the work on the pitch that we need to get right.”