Simon Grayson thinks PNE’s final two pre-season fixtures will be tough tests and insists any player could change his selection plans with a good performance in either game.
The Lilywhites face Hartlepool United on Friday, followed by Rochdale at Spotland Stadium on Saturday afternoon, and the Gaffer is sure both encounters will prove difficult for his side.
“Two good teams, Hartlepool were obviously in our division last year and Rochdale have had some good results in pre-season,” he said.
“I was speaking to Gary Bowyer the other night and they gave Blackburn a run around last Saturday for 45 minutes.
“They’re two different types of games for us but two equally important games because it’s all about preparation now.”
With the matches coming in such quick succession, the 43-year-old revealed that some of Preston’s scholars will have to play their part, with half of the North End first team remaining at home for the clash with Hartlepool.
“We will probably fill the bench with maybe some of the scholars, it’s a long way to take the players over the next day so they’ll probably stay behind,” he continued.
“So, it’ll be predominantly 12 or 13 first team players and then the rest will be made up of kids on the bench but, as I say, it’ll be all about players getting as much time as possible.”
The Lilywhites’ first game of the League One season is just over a week away and Grayson admits that, while he knows how he will set out his side tactically, which players will start is still subject to performance in both the upcoming friendlies.
“I’ve got a rough idea of what my team will be but there’s still plenty of time for people to change my mind with good performances or poor performances,” he said.
“The way we’re going to play won’t change, just the personnel who will be in to fill those numbers.”
This morning, the Club held an open training session at Deepdale - with free admission for fans - and the manager was positive about the work of the players as they look towards playing 90 minutes each this week.
“We’ve had a good day this morning with the open day, we had about 800 people there so that’s good for the supporters to see the players train on the pitch, sign autographs which is part and parcel of what footballers should do,” he said.
“Then obviously we’ve got the two games in two days, both teams will be separate and 90% of the players will get 90 minutes under their belts, which they need at this stage of the season.”