Manager Simon Grayson says he and his squad are ready to finish the job and get the win that will secure a place in the Championship.
The Lilywhites travel to Essex knowing that victory in their final league game of the season against Tony Humes’ Colchester United will earn them automatic promotion and he states that this has been the only target since the opening day of the pre-season.
“When we came back on 1st July our intentions were to get this football club promoted,” he said. “We have spent a lot of time on the training pitch, the players have worked very hard and we have had a fantastic season.
“We now know it is a one game season.
“Our destiny is in our own hands – we know that if we win, then we are promoted, irrespective of what happens anywhere else.
“The whole Club has worked hard to get to this moment and hopefully we can finish the job off.
“We know what is to play for and we know what is at stake for Colchester as well, so there is a lot riding on the game for both teams.
“The camp has been really relaxed and focused on what we need to do this week. There is no complacency, because we haven’t achieved anything yet and we will go there, enjoy it and hopefully by Sunday tea time Preston North End are back in the Championship.”
As a manager on a week like this, his job is to keep things as normal as possible, but he is not worried by anyone getting carried away and is well aware of the threat the home side will pose, who themselves have everything to play for.
“I have a lot of trust and faith in the players,” he continued. “There were some darker days earlier in the season, but when you have an opportunity that is within your own hands and a group of players who are really focused, working hard and full of confidence, then I have a lot of faith that they can finish the job off.
“They won’t need geeing up. We have to keep them relaxed and not do anything differently to what we have been doing all season.
“We have been doing everything this week as if it was the first week of the season. We have worked hard on the training pitch; we have done the recovery work and the same focus has been the same as the rest of the season.
“Is it better that Colchester have something to play for or nothing to play for? There is no right answer to that question.
“If they have nothing to play for they can go out with a free spirit, enjoy themselves and have no fear, but from the other side of it they know they have to win the game and it might be more open.
“We respect them because they have had some good results. They played very well against Swindon the other night; they beat Fleetwood last weekend, so we know what we need to do, but they will be fully aware of what we have in our group and what it means for us as well.”
A big following – in yellow – from Lancashire will add to a swelled home crowd, probably providing the U’s biggest home attendance of the season, but the gaffer says the atmosphere will only add to his players’ motivation.
“There will probably be a few more there than normal, but that is something you have to deal with. When you are going for promotion most of the away crowds are on your back and want you to lose.
“We have played in front of big crowds at Sheffield United and Deepdale last weekend, so the players will thrive on those opportunities,” he added.