Simon Grayson is looking to throw a spanner in the works of Middlesbrough’s promotion aspirations at the Riverside at the weekend.
“They don’t get much tougher than Saturday,” said Simon. “They are the favourites for the division. It only seems two minutes since we started against them at Deepdale with a fantastic draw and a game we maybe could have won as well.
“We have come a long way since then, but they have some talented players. A few weeks ago they looked like there might be a little bit of unrest, but they have got together again as a group and have won three on a trot now.
“They have some talented footballers and are desperate to get as many points as possible to secure automatic promotion. We know what is in front of us and that we need to go there and be disciplined and hard to beat, but when we get a chance to play we have to do that as well.
“It is a great game for the players to be involved in. There will be a big atmosphere and we haven’t done too badly so far this season when we have been involved in big atmospheres and playing the big teams away from home.”
The Lilywhites have produced some excellent results and performances on the road against the top teams and they want that to continue against Aitor Karanka’s men.
“Any player can want to do well against the big players they are playing against,” continued the PNE boss. “They want to win their battles and the adrenaline goes through their system.
“It was different the other night in front of a smaller crowd, but we go to the Riverside where it will be rocking; there will perhaps be 25,000 people there and it is only natural that you get an adrenaline boost from that.
“They will be up against some good players and they want to come out on top against them; the likes of Rhodes, Clayton etc. are good players and if you can come out on top against them, you can have a lot of pride.”
The game is a reverse of the opening day clash, as the Club returned to the Championship after a four year hiatus, and both sides have made progress since then, as the manager pointed out.
“We had one or two half decent opportunities to win the game and they had no shots on target and that was a really good starting point for us.
“Since then we have shown our defensive capabilities right throughout the season and we want to go there and be solid, but also look to try and win the game.
“There’s no reason why we can’t go there and win the game, because we have some good players, whoever we pick and we want to cause them problems and put a little bit of a spanner in their title aspirations,” he added.