The North End manager is delighted that there is plenty riding on this weekend’s game with Crewe, with both sides looking for the win.
The Lilywhites know that a victory will see them finish as the third-placed team in the League One, whilst a win for the Railwaymen guarantees them third tier football again in 2014/15.
“I said straight away after the game last weekend, that to have a game where something relies on it sets us up nicely for the Play-Off semi-final,” the gaffer said in his press conference ahead of the clash with Steve Davies’ men.
“There is something riding on the game, there will be a decent crowd, there will be a fantastic atmosphere and that’s what it will be like in the Play-Off semi-finals.
“It will be good to have a game with an edge, where the players have to show their mental strength; have to dig in, work hard as a group and go and express themselves in a high tension game.”
With other teams also looking to how the result will affect their seasonal outcome, at both ends of the table, the Lilywhites boss was keen to assure everyone that he will in no way by easing off ahead of the four team end of season tournament to decide the final promotion spot.
“If we finish game with a victory and finish third we’ll be happy,” he continued. “But if we lose and other teams win and we finish fourth or fifth, then so be it, we will still go into the Play-Offs with confidence and belief.
“This game isn’t going to change our philosophy of how we have done over the last few weeks, but it is one we want to win.
“I can guarantee we won’t be making seven or eight changes. We need to win the game to finish as high as we possibly can and it is our duty to our football club and fans to win this match. If that helps other teams, then so be it.”
The opposition have picked up valuable points and a couple of clean sheets in the past few weeks and they ran out 2-0 winners at Deepdale back in October, one of only two sides to have defeated PNE in the league at home this season, so the manager was very clear in his mind as to the test his side face.
“Steve will have his team organised and prepared, thinking they can beat us. They are one of the few teams who have beaten us this year on our own patch, which was disappointing, but they know what they need to do and we know what we need to do.
“On that game we had plenty of chances to have gone on won the game, as we have in most games this season, so it was disappointing to lose, but they have individual players who can hurt you.
“They have one or two players coming back from injury and suspension at the weekend and they had a good result at Bristol City last weekend, so there is plenty riding on the game and it will be exciting.”
Finally, his selection dilemmas will be increased come Saturday, as full back Scott Wiseman returns to the set-up, but this is a boost, rather than a problem, for Simon.
“Scott has trained this week and we will see how he is at the weekend. In an ideal world we would like him to get some game time before we go into the Play-Offs, but at the same time the team are doing ever so well, so we will have to look into that and monitor it.
“Scott is a good player. We can utilise him in different positions; but other players have come into the team over the past few weeks and done well. It gives me a selection dilemma, but one that I love to have.
“It is good to have him back in and around things and it gives us another body. Tom Clarke will probably be touch and go again for the weekend, but that is nothing too major and if he does miss out he will be fine for the Play-Offs,” he added.