Manager Simon Grayson spoke ahead of the return to Championship hostilities and feels the two week international break has been of assistance to his side as they face Cardiff City in PR1 on Saturday.
The Lilywhites return to Deepdale for the first time since the controversial draw with Wolves three weeks ago and are looking forward to getting back into action and the gaffer believes that the fortnight off has allowed the staff and team to work on a few areas they want to improve upon.
“The international break has benefitted us,” said the PNE boss. “It has given us a chance to take stock of what we have done. We have done some work with the players, both in the classroom – as such – and on the training pitch as well.
“It has also given the players who have had a few niggles to get some rest and get back up to speed and other players who have needed a breather have also got a rest physically and mentally as well.
“We have looked at things with the players at things they’ve felt we need to do better.
“We are all in this together and we are very open discussions, so we have analysed things together and worked on them. It has come at a good time for us, so we could take stock ahead of another quick group of games, where if we get some results we can quickly move up the table.”
The start to the season hasn’t delivered as many points as the team would have hoped, however, in no game have North End been outplayed for large chunks of games and this is something the dressing room thinks should be built upon.
“We have spoken to the media and also privately in the dressing room and said that we have been well and truly in every game we have played this season,” continued the manager. “We haven’t been overrun by one team from the beginning to the end of a game.
“We have shown some fantastic characteristics and qualities at times, but we have also been undone by good bits of play by the opposition, but also fundamental mistakes which you need to eradicate at this level.
“We have not had the rub of the green with things, including injuries and suspensions, but that is football and we do not use luck as a major asset that you either have or don’t – instead you keep working hard and have the confidence and belief that ultimately leads to results. This is what we have been stressing to the players since pre-season, right through to this last few weeks. Whereas some teams start to feel despondent and down on themselves, we haven’t done that, we have worked extremely hard to achieve our targets and I am sure results will turn for us very quickly, because we are not a million miles away from being where we want to be.
“A couple of wins in this division and you can quickly be in the top half of the division; that’s how quickly in can change in this division, there is not too much between the teams.”
The visitors from Wales have started the season in confident fashion, the point taken against early pace-setters Brighton & Hove Albion two weeks ago leaving them in eighth spot ahead of the international break, however, Grayson has confidence in his side’s ability to get the result.
“There are no easy games and they are all important. If we show the same sort of effort, spirit and quality that we did in our previous home game, where we were only undone by some circumstances out of our control, then we have a good chance of winning the match.
“Cardiff are a good team, they have some experienced players, but if we play to our capabilities, like we have shown against teams already this season, we have a great opportunity to win the game – that’s what we will be striving for.
“We are certainly not letting results recently affect our attitude, our belief and our confidence – the players are determined to get a result quickly that can turn things around for everybody,” he added.