After the pomp and circumstance of a top of the table clash on Saturday, North End must raise their game further for Tuesday’s clash with Gillingham.
Manager Simon Grayson says his side must put on a performance to create an atmosphere at Deepdale after playing in front of almost 16,500 at the weekend.
With only 200 or so expected up from Kent, the North End faithful have a huge part of play in raising the roof once more at 7.45pm on Tuesday evening as the gaffer explained.
“This is going to be a really tough game for us. People can’t underestimate how well Gillingham are doing. They went to Bristol City and got a draw and they beat Bradford at the weekend – Justin [Edinburgh] has got them going.
“They are one of the only teams, when you look at the division, that hasn’t got too much to play for. They are not going to down, they probably won’t make the Play-Offs, but what they are doing is playing for their professional pride. They are probably paying for contracts next year and they are having a go for the manager.
“Justin is probably still running his eye over them still and they will be playing for their futures, so, if anything, this is more important than Saturday’s game.
“That took care of itself with the atmosphere and the adrenaline, but for this one there won’t be too many away supporters in given the nature of the fixture on a Tuesday night, but we have to generate our own atmosphere and put on a display.”
On the terraces and in the media people are looking ahead to game to come, but for the PNE chief and cohorts that is something they cannot do.
“You have to keep your focus on each game as it comes,” he continued. “We want them to go and express themselves, enjoy it and not get nervous. The players have done what they’ve done so far and we want them to keep expressing themselves, playing with no fear.
“At this stage of the season, whatever division you are in, you can become apprehensive, but we said to the players on Saturday ‘go and work hard for the shirt, but when you get the chance pass the ball, enjoy it, take your chances and play with a smile on your face’.
“They have to try and grasp the opportunity that is there for them.”
And the agenda for the manager, his staff and the dressing room is to finish the job they set themselves back in June and nothing more.
“Our focus is on getting promotion – that was the sole aim at the start of the season and nothing has changed. If we catch Bristol City then so be it, but our first objective is to get into the Championship and if anything happens after that, then it is a bonus to us.
“A few months ago people weren’t even giving us an opportunity to get into the top two, but that is our aim and anything else is a bonus. We just want to focus on getting into the Championship.
“We are just concentrating on putting on a performance; putting a team out to go and get a result, get the three points and nothing more. Everyone will look at the fixtures and see who is playing who and there will be one eye on the scores elsewhere on the terraces, but not from my perspective.
“We must concentrate on what we need to do. They we go into a quick turnaround with Friday, but there is only potential at the moment, so we are not getting too far ahead of ourselves,” he added.