Full back Paul Connolly is expecting this Saturday’s encounter with Leyton Orient to be the sternest test since the manager’s arrival
North End have found a new belief in recent matches at Deepdale, but the visitors travel north on the back of a six game undefeated streak, including wins in their last three matches and Connolly and his team mates are fully aware of what to expect.
“I expect a tough game, they are on a good run and they will be looking at the Play-Offs, so I think it will be our toughest test so far since the new manager has come in by a long way,” said the PNE No.15.
“The lads told me that we had loads of chances and should have capitalised when we played them earlier in the season, so that is a good sign, but it don’t matter what happened down there.
“We need to play a different game at home and take the game to them, but we can beat anyone in this league.
“We have proved that lately and everyone is proving that at the minute so form means nothing really, although they are in a good run of form, I think we can go into the game thinking we can win it.
“Training has went great, it has been nice and short, nice and sharp and the lads feel fresh and come Saturday there are no excuses of being tired or anything else.”
Saturday will mark only the gaffer’s second home match since his arrival at Deepdale; despite that being over a month ago and Connolly is keen for the Lilywhites impressive recent home form to continue.
The full back said: “No one has really turned us over, I remember the Shrewsbury game when we lost and we absolutely battered Shrewsbury at home, so it has been a bit of a fortress lately.
“We have been enjoying playing there and we need to make sure that Leyton Orient don’t enjoy playing there.
“The games have been tough, staying over in hotels and long travels, it has been a hard slog the last month or so and it is nice to get home again.
“We have won our last two home games two, nil and two, nil so I will take another two, nil on Saturday. “
North End have now went over 350 minutes without losing a goal from open play, a run the Leeds United loanee is eager to continue, as the team looks to bounce back from that gut wrenching defeat at Brentford on Saturday.
“It is pleasing that we aren’t losing goals, but that sucker punch in the last minute killed us,” added Connolly.
“The feeling coming home was like we had lost five, nil.
“As a defence, I think we deserved a clean sheet with a bit of help from Declan [Rudd] who pulled off a few good saves but teams haven’t been cutting us open and doing that home especially.
“If we keep a clean sheet on Saturday we will 100 per cent win the game because I am certain that we will score, so if we keep them out, we will win.
“It is important to bounce back, Saturday was a bit of a blip and we should have got a point, but we didn’t, so if we get a win on the board, it keeps our points total ticking along, it helps us climb the table, so it is very important to get a win again.”
Matchday tickets are available now, with fans advised to get their tickets in advance where possible for the clash with Leyton Orient.
The ticket and retail store is open 9am to 5pm from Monday - Thursday and 9am until 6pm on Friday, with tickets again on sale on the day of the game from the Sir Tom Finney Stand ticket office from 9am.
You can also buy over the phone during those opening hours (lines shut 90 minutes before kick-off) on 0844 856 1966. You can also buy, without having to go through pages of registrations, online, with just a click, by visiting MYPNE.Com.