North End manager Simon Grayson has said he is unlikely to make many changes for the visit of Hartlepool United in the EFL Cup.
“The EFL Cup is a big competition, because it is the next game and we suffered a defeat at the weekend, so we want to get back out there and get back to winning ways quickly,” said the gaffer.
“I have always been of the philosophy that because it is only the second game of the season, that you have to try and play as strong a team as possible again if you have not won at the weekend.
“Players are still finding their feet, so it is a competition we take seriously, because we want to progress and get through to play the bigger teams. We want to get that first victory as quickly as possible.
“Every team at the weekend, whether they have won, lost or drawn, will want to do better, in terms of the habits they have built up over pre-season. Pre-season games are a means to an end, but it matters now and from our perspective we need to do things a lot better than we did on Saturday.
“We have always had a reaction from the players when we have lost games. Looking back at the weekend they had more urgency than us, had more desire to close down and used the ball better and that was what I was disappointed with, but we will be putting that right on Tuesday night and take it on into the weekend against Fulham.
“We were below par against Reading on Saturday, for whatever reason, but we have a very quick opportunity to turn it round.”
The opposition started their League Two campaign with a 1-1 home draw and the PNE chief is well aware that the expectations will be on his side to progress.
“As a Championship club in the first round you are going to be one of the bigger teams and you just have to deal with that,” he continued. “Players have to deal with the pressure of suffering a defeat at the weekend and try to progress and get into better habits and if they do that, they will have a good chance of winning the game, no matter what competition you are involved in.
“Our preparation will be exactly the same. It is vitally important every single game. We will make sure we work hard to do the things we did well last year.
“On Saturday we were too easy to play against, whereas last year we were hard to beat, disciplined and didn’t let the opposition dictate the game. On Saturday Reading dictated the game too easily and if we don’t do things right Hartlepool can do the same, because they are all professional players who want to show they are capable of playing at a good level.”
His former Blackburn Rovers team-mat Craig Hignett is at the helm at Victoria Park and PNE’s boss expects them to be well drilled.
“I know Craig really well; we were at Blackburn together and we keep in touch. You can’t really do in depth analysis of teams that you would do four or five games in, but we have had them watched. “They will have an urgency about them, they have some experience in the likes of Jones and Paynter, so they will be doing their utmost to cause an upset.
“There are always upsets at this stage of the competition and we have to make sure that we are not the ones on the end of that,” he added.