Simon Grayson is thoroughly looking forward to the start of the FA Cup and says that the staff, team and he are taking it with full seriousness.
The North End boss has had some great days in the competition, famously leading Leeds to a win over Manchester United at Old Trafford and although this is the first step for the Lilywhites, it is still something that has raised the adrenaline levels in the PNE dressing room.
“It’s a great competition,” said the gaffer. “The history of the competition is unrivalled and we have been drawn against a non-league club, so it is game we are looking forward to.
“We have done well in the league in the last four games and this is another game we want to win. The incentive is a place in the next round, one game away from a potential tie against the big teams.
“The FA Cup is high on our agenda. If you can manage to get through to the third round you can get drawn away at one of the big teams and that could mean you earn as much as £1m, which is a lot of money to a football club. We will be treating it with every seriousness.”
The opposition are in good form themselves and sit just outside the Play-Off places in a very tight Conference table and Grayson is wary of the threat they will carry.
“Barnet are a good team; they are just outside the Play-Offs at the moment in the Conference and not so long ago were a league team,” he continued. “There is not a lot of difference between the Conference teams and League Two teams at this moment in time. Most of them train full-time and we know we can expect a tough game.
“We are doing even more preparation than we might normally do for a league game, because we need to do. This is not an easy tie for us, even though we are at home. They have some players who can hurt you on a day and it is difficult because we don’t watch Conference football every week. We have had three or four DVDs sent through and we are taking the game very seriously.
“They are similar to MK Dons, they like to play the ball out through the back, playing with the holding midfielder and will probably play 4-5-1, so it will be a system we have to try and break down, because we didn’t manage that against Tranmere and Crewe who played the same system. They pass the ball well and have some threats in the wide areas. We will give them the respect they are due, but if we are where we should be then we can get the right result.”
Team selection will not be easy either for the manager, with his whole squad chomping at the bit to be involved: “Gally has trained this week and the more game time we get into him it will be the better for him and for the football club.
“He’s in good shape and hopefully we see a lot more of the glimpses of what he showed last week.
“Josh Brownhill should join in training today; so we should have a full squad available to us. Jack King is ready and even though we didn’t get a game into him this week he has looked strong and ready to be involved,” he added.