Manager Simon Grayson is looking forward to the Easter Monday clash at Crewe and seeing his side playing in front of a huge army of travelling fans.
Speaking ahead of the Bank Holiday clash with the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy Finalists the North End boss said it would be a wonderful occasion for the Club, but also a tough test.
“The one great thing is that we are going to be taking 2,500 supporters with us, which is a fantastic feat – it should create a good atmosphere,” he said.
“They have a good side and play the game with the right principles. They’ve got Dario still at the football club, with Steve in charge. They’ve had a good season again, they have the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy Final next weekend and we have to go there and be at our game.
“I don’t really care about what happened [when the two clubs met before Christmas]. I want the player s to have in their mind that they are going to show me what they are capable of doing. We can’t affect results that have gone before, we can only affect what we do on Monday and I expect the team I put out there to run and chase and work hard, try and play in the right areas when we can do and basically do themselves justice, so they stay in my plans for the long term.”
The Lilywhites still need to ensure their League One status and have been building their points total, with just one defeat in their last eight.
“Ideally the extra two points we could have got from the last two games would have been ideal for us and we would probably be safe,” continued the gaffer. “We will go to Crewe and we will try and win the game.
“We just want to affect what we can do; we’ve only lost one since we’ve been at the football club and that’s what we’ve tried to achieve – being hard to beat and picking up points to make sure we’re safe and we’re in good spirits.
“We’ve had some difficult games and credit to the players, they have picked up points away from home and won games here and kept chipping away. They have not let the disappointment of a 94th minute penalty at Brentford affect us and the same with an early goal on Saturday.
“You’d like to think we’ve turned the corner, but you would also hope the supporters are seeing the potential of the players that came to the football club last summer. They’ve seen how they’ve reacted to mine, Glynn, John and my theories and hopefully seen what they can be capable of.
“Once we get safe we can try different personnel and different formations, but before that we have a tough game at Crewe.”
The movement of the first of the Easter double-header to Good Friday has meant an almost normal preparation time for the first team as they head off to Gresty Road, but are again likely to be without two regulars.
“Playing Friday-Monday is no different to playing Saturday-Tuesday. The players have to recover quickly; they have to make sure they are prepared right. We might change a few players around to give us that option, but what would players rather be doing, going on a building site or playing football on Easter Monday? I know what I’d rather be doing! The lads have to be professional and everyone needs to prepare expecting to play, as they might all get an opportunity.
“We still won’t have John Welsh and Stuart Beavon, but they are making progress and it will be nice to have them back; whilst Scott Laird is making good progress as well. The Scunthorpe game is probably more likely for John, but if he is in any doubt, he won’t play, because we won’t rush him and aggravate the injury he has got.
“Joel Byrom has joined in with us the last seven or eight days and he just needs a bit more training in the next week or so and then he can be considered.”
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