The North End squad will spend Christmas Day preparing for the game at Leeds United, with manager Simon Grayson confirming they would be training.
“We’ll be in this year,” said the North End chief. “There are different ways of dealing with it. As a manager I have been in Christmas Day and won on Boxing Day; been in and lost; been off and won and been in and won, so there is no right way or wrong way of doing it, but we will be in, because we think it is the right preparation for us.
“It will be a short, sharp session, but everybody in the football world knows this is work time and that sacrifices have to be made. I am wary the players want to spend times with their families, but they are getting paid to work on Christmas Day and hopefully the work will bear the fruits of a win on Boxing Day.
“We are at home, so the players will spend Christmas Day night at home with their families, whereas if we’d been away they would have been in a hotel, so that is one good thing.
“Last year is at the back of my mind, given the result and performance. It has nothing to do with the preparation, but form my own point of view, I think it is the right thing to be in and what better game to have on Boxing Day then what will no doubt be a near sell out Roses match.”
Deepdale looks set for the biggest crowd of the season so far, with the 20,700 that witnessed the clash with Newcastle United under threat on St Stephen’s Day and Simon believes the home fans can play an important part in getting another good result.
“Deepdale can be the 12th man in the games coming up and that was proved in the games last year against the likes of Hull City at Christmas and Sheffield Wednesday.
“This year with Leeds, Sheffield Wednesday, the Blackburn game a fortnight ago and then Arsenal at the end, they are four great games to be involved in.
“The atmosphere will be electric on Boxing Day and it is a good opportunity for us, because we are in good shape at this moment in time and if we can come out with some more points from this busy period, it will set us up for the rest of the season.”
The game is one the manager admits is the first he looks for when the fixtures come out, having played for and managed his boyhood team, but all he wants this Christmas is to beat them!
“Everybody knows my affection for Leeds United, but come Boxing Day I want to beat anybody and we must concentrate on our football club and trying to get another three points and we’ll be looking forward to trying to do that.
“Garry did a great job previously at Swansea and Leeds are now bearing the fruits of giving him time to get them going. We have had them watched over the past few weeks and I went to see them at Liverpool and they have had some great results, especially at home.
“They will be pleased with how they are progressing, but they will also be aware of the run that we have been on recently.”