Simon Grayson spoke ahead of the FA Cup first round clash with Havant and Waterlooville and said that the teams’ research had been even more in depth than normal.
“There were no surprises that it was the other end of the country after the travelling we’ve done over the last few weeks,” said the gaffer.
“Straight away I got on the phone to the chief scout, who loved the idea of going to watch the replay against Canvey Island!
“Our preparation has been really intense – probably more so than a league game. We have to make sure that we get as much information about them as possible.
“We had them watched last Saturday; I have been trying to get in contact with some Conference South managers who have come up against them, because we want to win the game - we want to go there and put on a performance.
“In the FA Cup there is always a banana skin, but we want to make sure that is not us – we want to be in the second round.”
For many North End fans the experience of heading to Havant will be one where they have very little knowledge of what to expect, but what does the manager know about the Conference South opponents?
“They are a footballing team and have an ex-league manager in Lee Bradbury,” he continued. “They have players who have played in the league, like Brian Stock, who used to be here.
“They like to get the ball down and play the game the right way and they have a couple of lively strikers. We’ll be doing all our research and focusing on what we need to do.
“We have a professionalism about our squad that means they want to get back to winning ways after the two defeats that we suffered.”
When the draw came out, it emphasised why the English FA Cup is so special and is exactly what you would expect from the competition.
“That’s why it’s on telly, isn’t it?” Added the North End chief. “We are the highest ranked team in the competition at this time away at a non-league club, so everybody is looking for that one big upset.
“I have always said to my teams down the years involved in these type of ties, ‘don’t be the team that are going to be on the end of an upset’.
“We have to be professional in our approach and do a job and I believe we will be able to do that.
“It is a no win situation for us. If we lose the game it is brilliant for everyone else and if we win the game people say ‘so you should do’, but the one thing our players know is that we want to be in the hat for the second round and we want to get back to winning ways.”