North End’s four figure away following on Saturday shows the Club’s size and stature, according to new manager Simon Grayson.
The new Lilywhites chief and his troops will be backed by a support of somewhere around 1,200 when they arrive at the County Ground for their first clash with the Robins since December 1985.
And the gaffer was delighted to know what sort of vocal backing they can expect: “It’s brilliant, it just shows the potential and the passionate side of the supporters,” he told his first pre-match media briefing. “I have been fortunate with the clubs I have been at, that there has been a good fan base to work off and hopefully we can give them something to cheer about.
“We are going there as underdogs, but hopefully the supporters will now see the true reflection of what the players are capable of doing.”
It has been a whirlwing few days for the 43-year-old, back in the country on Saturday after a mini-break, appointed on Monday and straight on the training ground for the rest of the week and now he is looking forward to his first matchday in the PNE dug out.
“We got to meet the players on Monday night and then on Tuesday morning it was full steam ahead with the session that we had,” he continued.
“We tried to get a few ideas across to the players, but it’s not something we can change overnight and nothing too drastic that we have to do.
“The players have been really good and receptive of what we are trying to put across. I don’t want to put any pressure on the players and all I have said to them is that I’d like them to try and build on what they did last weekend.
“The performance [against Bournemouth] was really impressive; to beat the league leaders - and hopefully we can go to Swindon at the weekend and beat the league leaders for the second weekend on the trot.
“There are some good players in there and some experienced players who have played at some good levels.
“There are some players who are hungry to succeed who have been non-league as well and with all those ingredient s, coupled with what we are trying to put across to them, and our philosophy and ambitions, hopefully we can take the Club and this group forward.”
Joel Byrom went under the knife for a hernia operation on Tuesday, joining Scott Laird (broken leg) on the sidelines, but other than that, the manager is hoping for a pretty much full squad to choose from at The County Ground come 3pm on Saturday.
“The majority of the players have trained,” he added. “A couple of players missed the game last week in Cummins and Connolly.
“Joel Byrom has just had a hernia operation, but other than that it is sort of the same squad as last week.
“A lot of the players certainly done themselves justice at the weekend so it is not for me to go in and change things dramatically after a win.
“The players need a little bit of continuity and have done a good job and got a good result, so it is only fair that they keep the shirt.”
The opposition may have had a bit of a turmoil-filled week, with the departure of manager Paolo Di Canio and his staff, but they are a team 12 unbeaten in npower League One and for North End the focus is purely on their own game.
“All I would say is their players were very professional and did a good job against Tranmere the other night and what’s happened has happened.
“I can’t affect that and I am not too concerned about Swindon.
“All I want my players to do is go down there and work hard for the team and to their potential and try and get a result.”