North End manager Graham Westley took a long trek through the difficult weather conditions to see Saturday’s opponents in action on Tuesday night.
And the PNE boss believes the chance to see a team live so close to our game at the Colchester Community Stadium, only gives us more valuable preparatory information
“It took about seven hours to get down there, it was a long old haul with the snow falling, but I managed to get to see the game,” he said at his pre-match press conference. “The pitch wasn’t in the best of conditions and it was a tough encounter.
“Both sides could have won it – Swindon did – but both sides could have lost it. They both had a good go at the game, both goals came under threat and any result could easily have happened.
“We know what they’ve got. We know a lot about them, but it only reinforced what qualities they’ve got, seeing them live.
“You see the whole picture of the game being there live. On most DVDs you only get a portion of the game; you are not seeing the whole picture of how sides attack and how they defend. Seeing things in real time is always a massive bonus.”
The team take two long trips in the next five days, with a journey down to the West Country on Tuesday to face Yeovil after having returned from East Anglia on Saturday evening.
Despite the run of form at home, the Lilywhites’ gaffer does not think back-to-back away games gives any more benefit to the team.
“The players have got to learn and got to grow and have to learn to put themselves under pressure and thrive under that pressure,” he continued. “Running away from places isn’t going to help them. You have to stand up and be counted and it is as important to stand up and face the pressure of the home environment as it is away from home.
“We are still playing for three points, whether it is home or away and there are three points there on Saturday that we want to go and get. The lads are getting into the routine where every day is a pressurised environment; every game is pressurised environment, but that pressure is healthy and it helps their performance.”
There has been a boost for Westley and the squad this week, however, with the news that one of the squad’s key men is back in full training and closing in on a return to action.
“John Mousinho is probably a couple of weeks ago from getting back on the training ground; we might get him back towards the end of next week and then it’s the process of stepping back up to the plate.
“More importantly for us right now is the fact that Keano [Keith Keane] has been back out there this week. We know what a big player he has been this season; nine wins, eight draws and just two defeats with Keane in the team – a massive influence.
“The boys love having him around and when you get a player of that type, every major football club in the country has shown that when you get your big players back, it makes a heck of a difference to the character in the dressing room and the self-confidence the players carry with themselves out onto the pitch,” he added.