Manager Simon Grayson says training over the weekend has been at a very high intensity with the squad determined to raise their levels against Yeovil Town on Tuesday night.
“They are a good group and they understand when they have underperformed,” he said.
“Speaking to one or two of the players in training over the weekend, they knew what they had done wrong and were working harder to try and make it better on Tuesday night and that is what you are looking for.
“If they had been flat and there hadn’t been that intensity and edge to training then you might think they don’t care about things – but that is certainly not the case with this group of players, who feel it when they don’t live up to the standards we have set for ourselves.”
The Lilywhites take on Yeovil Town, who ended a run of five straight defeats with an excellent home win and clean sheet against an in-form Bradford City team on Saturday and the gaffer is well aware of the standard his side need to reach.
“Gary has had a group of players where he has had to chop and change quite a bit over the last few weeks and months, relying on the loan market heavily,” continued Simon.
“They had a great result at the weekend, beating Bradford who were bang in form, so we know what to expect from them.
“They will come up here and give it a good shot, but as we always say, we will respect the opposition, but make sure that we do things better.
“We have to improve ten or 20 per cent in all aspects of our game and if we do that we have a very good chance of winning the game.
“Their result at the weekend sums up what this division is all about; if you don’t perform as individuals and collectively as a team, then the opposition have a great opportunity to win the game.
“We have to make sure we win our individual battles, collectively be hard to beat, but play with a purpose and if we do that then we are as good as anyone in the division. We have proved that with our results both home and away - cup games, league games – and if we do a lot of things right then we can get the result we want.”
The clash is the first of a mouth-watering week of fixtures for the Lilywhites with a chance to make up ground on the top three, followed by two big cup ties – all adding to the excitement at the training ground.
“This is a really big week for us and it could be a really positive week. We will be aiming for three points on Tuesday night, to close the gap on the teams above us, then we are playing for a place in the fifth round of the FA Cup at the weekend and then finally a chance to get to a Wembley appearance.
“We have had a decent enough season so far and players have come in and taken their opportunities. The squad we have got have performed on a consistent basis and got us to where we are now.
“The players have not let us down too often, which is why we are where we are in the league and still in these cup competitions and it will be a tough team selection. We have to have a clear mind and not make irrational and wrong decisions. The team I first thought of on Friday night will probably nowhere near the one we select on Tuesday night!” Added the PNE boss.