North End face Wolves at Deepdale for their first league match of the 2013/14 campaign and manager Simon Grayson is raring to go.
While speaking to PNE.Com, Grayson emphasised the optimism and excitement around the Club and the visit of Kenny Jackett’s side will only increase the buzz surrounding Deepdale.
“It is exciting because it is the start of a new season which everyone has been looking forward to for the last couple of weeks now," he said of their Sky Bet League One opener.
“I think it is a good time to play them, it is a good fixture for us, because again coupled with the excitement of a new season you have got the biggest team in the division coming to town.
“You are going to have probably 5,000 Wolverhampton Wanderers supporters and you are going to have probably 11,000 or 12,000 of ours, it is going to be a cracking atmosphere and you always get the first game like that anyway but never mind against a big team like Wolves.
“I think having Wolves here does get the adrenaline going for everybody, and no disrespect, we could have been playing a lower rank team as such in the division and maybe there would not be the same sort of buzz and the excitement levels. Then the expectation levels increase and everyone expects you to go out and win because you are at home and you are playing a lesser ranked team as such.
“But Wolves, two years ago were in the Premiership. This game, the result could go either way and that is why it is on such a knife edge on how it could go.”
Grayson’s squad have been put through their paces throughout a successful pre-season, but now is the time the wins count, and the aim of every game is to get the three points.
“Pre-season is a means to an end, as I have said all along, it is about getting players fit. They have got some good players, they have got some good players who have not even been included in their matchday squads recently,
“But we will approach every game whether it is Wolves or somebody who has just come up from League Two with a determination not to get beaten and go and win the game.”
One problem that the gaffer does not have is a lack of choice within his side, with good options in almost all positions, there will be some tough decisions to make come kick-off time, but they are decisions that most managers will be envious of.
On his wide range of options, he said: “I have got some good opportunities for players to impress and options for me, I know my team, and I know the team that’s going to play at the weekend, baring any injuries in the next day or so.
“So whatever team we put out, hopefully it’s the right one and the one that gets us off to a winning start.”
So far the only player not available for selection is Stuart Beavon who is still out with a knee injury sustained during the pre-season match against Chorley.
“He is still struggling with his knee, he is not far away he has just got to that stage where he is just back kicking balls, but he is just feeling a slight bit of pain in it.
“So he will be probably out for Saturday and Monday, but hopefully he will be back in training Tuesday, to maybe be involved the following weekend.”
He added: “He is the only one who is not going to be available for the weekend, we have got some selection dilemmas, but I have said to the players all along, if you are not involved at the weekend, make sure that you are ready to go into the team for any stage throughout it.”
As for the opposition, pre-season is a difficult time for managers to scout out the opposition with teams being constantly rotated throughout the friendlies, making it hard to gain any information on how they will line- up. However Grayson and his staff know what they need to do, regardless of their opposition.
“They have picked different teams and had different personnel, as we have done as well and we tried to just give the players a general outline of what they [Wolves] might do, and try to focus on what we need to do when we have got possession of the ball and when we are out of possession."