Chris Humphrey thinks PNE’s final two pre-season games are pivotal, as the squad prepare to face Wolves on the opening day of their 2013/14 League One campaign.
North End play Hartlepool and Rochdale on consecutive days this week and the 25-year-old believes the Lilywhites need to produce positive performances in both games, before taking that momentum into their clash against Kenny Jackett’s side.
“I think it’s important for us in the next two games to start playing as well as we can and take it into the first game,” he told PNE.Com.
“Wolves is the first one and the one we’re looking at, not Blackpool, because Wolves is the first game and it’s very important to get a win under our belt in the first game of the season.”
Friday’s 256 mile round journey to Hartlepool United’s Victoria Ground will be the longest of pre-season for Preston, though Humphrey insists it’s all part of life as a professional footballer.
“As professional footballers you’ve got to take it as it comes and whether we’ve got to travel six hours or one hour it doesn’t matter, it’s how you prepare while you’re travelling up,” he said.
“That’s no problem, it’s just that when we get there we have to keep playing the way we have done, bar the Fleetwood game, and I’m sure we’ll do well.”
Simon Grayson’s squad have enjoyed a fruitful pre-season with wins against Chorley, Bamber Bridge and Tuesday night’s draw with Blackburn being the highlights so far – but what has impressed ‘Humph’ the most has been the application of his new teammates.
“It’s going really well, obviously we had a little blip at the Fleetwood game but we put it right yesterday,” he said.
“The work ethic was really good yesterday as well so hopefully we can take that into the next few games.”
That one-one stalemate against Rovers seems to have lifted confidence for the new campaign sky high at Springfields, and Chris is convinced that the team can continue to play at that level here on in.
“There’s no excuse now, from the way we played yesterday, not to be playing like that all the time now,” he stated.
“We’ve set a standard and we’ve got to keep to it and we’ve got to take that into both those games.”
On a personal note, the winger is satisfied that he has fully settled as a Lilywhite and credited his new teammates for their welcoming attitude towards him.
“Every first pre-season I’ve had at a club, it’s that feeling of not knowing anyone, but from my first day the lads were absolutely brilliant,” he added.
“It feels like I’ve been here for four years, the way they’ve welcomed me in so on that aspect it’s fine.”