Manager Graham Westley looked back on his first year in charge and looked ahead to the Sunday Funday and the visit of Walsall.
The North End boss will have been in charge 12 months when his team take to the field against Dean Smith’s Saddlers on Sunday and he admits that it is a day, with the reduced pricing and swollen crowd, he is excited about.
“It’s a day to look forward to,” he told PNE Player after his final preparations were completed at Springfields.
“It has been a really tough year. I have done a lot since I’ve been here; the management team and everybody at the football club has done an immense amount of work. The one thing we haven’t really got to show is points on the board to show for it. What we have done is build a good foundation for the future.
“We have cleared out the past and a lot of cost that went with that. We have got things back on a level footing in terms of the finances, but the on-field, with a few exceptions, hasn’t been what any of us would have wanted.
“It is nice to have been here a year, in that a year is better than six months, and it shows confidence from the Club in what I am doing and that is always nice. But, the job has really only just started and I hope that in the next 12 months we can make some substantial progress and I am smiling going into the second anniversary.”
The opponents defeated North End at the Banks’s Stadium back in September and the manager explained the task at hand: “There are a lot of clubs in this league, who when they get their best team on the pitch, will be a handful for anybody. They [Walsall] went to MK Dons and beat them 4-2 in a game we have spent some time reviewing – and that’s not an easy thing to do.
“They have got virtually their best 11 on the pitch and they are winning points and we know that to beat them, we will have to play very well. It’s the same week in, week out and we have a job to do tomorrow.
“They gave us a real hiding at their place and that didn’t feel good, but nor did it feel good getting beat at Oldham or the other night at Coventry. We have had plenty of defeats to learn from, but we want to win games for the football club and earn points for the football club.
“You have to take the hits in order to grow stronger and to grow better, as individuals and as a unit and when the hits are happening it doesn’t feel good, but nobody is going to hide, we are going to build on what we are doing and take the football club forward.”
Watch the full ten minutes with the manager, where he talks abou the need for a good January transfer window, the focus on the 60 points still available, the good feeling in the camp and the Deepdale form – click here now for the interview.