Sky Bet League One is another competitive league again in 2015, with more records possibly on the cards to be broken.
The PNE boss spoke ahead of the trip to follow automatic promotion hopefuls Sheffield United and said that his team can’t affect the other competitors and must remain focused on the job at hand.
“Full credit to the teams that are putting in performances on a consistent basis,” said Simon.
“Last year everyone talked about the fact it was a consistent league and the points totals that the top five or six finished with was a record situation, but this year is equally as hard.
“You have to be consistent to compete with the teams around you and everyone is still targeting the top two. Sheffield United will be one of those with that aim, but we just have to focus on what we need to do and whatever happens to everyone else, we have to accept it.”
North End head across the Pennines with a few injury concerns, but the gaffer is hoping that loan striker Jermaine Beckford will be okay to travel, despite being substituted in the second half against Walsall.
“We are hopeful that Jermaine’s injury wasn’t too severe and that is was just more of a precaution that he came off,” he continued.
“We have options of players that can fit into different formations, but the best situation would be to have everyone available to us.
“Wednesday night was the hardest team selection I have had to make, not just at this Football Club, but for a very long time, based on how well everyone played at the weekend and the fact we only had five subs.
“People like David Buchanan, Calum Woods and Josh Brownhill played really well at the weekend and didn’t make the bench and they can count themselves unfortunate, but will come into contention at the weekend.
“John Welsh should be fine to return; he was ill at the weekend and only returned to training on Tuesday, whilst Andy Little picked up a little niggle on Tuesday and we will assess him to see how he is for the weekend.”
The opponents on Saturday themselves had an excellent Cup win last Sunday, a thumping 3-0 win at Queens Park Rangers, to set up a trip to Deepdale in a fortinight and the PNE chief is well aware of their abilities.
“They are a good team and you need no more proof of that than at the weekend when they went to QPR and put in an excellent performance.
“They are in the top six, striving to get into the top two and it is a good test for us.
“If we can replicate a similar sort of performance to those that we have had on the road during this season, then we have every opportunity. They will know our strengths and weaknesses, but our players will be wanting to put right what went wrong on Wednesday night.
“It is tight up there at the top and we want to get the right result to remain in contention with the top two,” he added.