Manager Simon Grayson is looking forward to taking his team to Portman Road on Saturday and spoke in glowing terms about his opposite number.
The PNE boss was speaking ahead of his side’s clash with high-flying Ipswich Town at the weekend and admitted that Mick McCarthy was someone he looked up.
“We know what Mick’s sides are about,” the gaffer told PNE PlayerHD. “They are hard-working, resilient and are a good group, so we know we are in for a tough test.
“We played them in the early part of the season and played very well for the first half hour. They changed the way they were playing and unfortunately we lost a game where we could have got something apart from two moments of brilliance from Pitman and Fraser.
“It is a test for us, given where they are in the league, but it is a game we are looking forward to.
“Mick’s philosophy has never changed since he became a manager. What he does is to put teams together who work hard and gives every last bit that they can in every game. They are very organised and disciplined, but have some very talented individual players as well.
“He puts together a team that knows how to win football matches and that’s what it is about.
“He is different to other managers who might have big egos and big philosophies of expansive football; if you can put together a team that is hard-working and know that you can create and score opportunities, that is an ideal situation and Mick is somebody I look up and hold in high regard as an experienced manager who knows what he is doing.”
The Lilywhites have had to work hard over the past three games in order to earn a trio of consecutive victories and he says that whilst the dressing room is a positive one, it isn’t getting carried away.
“Every game in the Championship is tough,” continued the PNE boss. “You have to earn the right to get any victory, but we started the week off in a really positive manner. The lads are buoyant after the win.
“They aren’t over-confident, but we go to Ipswich against a team who are in the top six and looking to maintain their challenge for promotion, feeling that we are capable of getting a result.”
The trip from PR1 to IP1 is another long one for the fans and for many neutral spectators North End will certainly be well down the pecking order in terms of likely victors this weekend, but the manager thinks his team can thrive in those circumstances.
“It is no coincidence in any division that if you are the underdog, you enjoy going into games against the bigger teams, whether that is home or away. You want to express yourselves.
“If you are a defender playing against a striker who is worth a lot of money, you want to keep him quiet. As a midfielder you want to make sure your opponent doesn’t dominate and all over the pitch you want to win your individual battle and each player in our group is pushing each other on a regular basis to improve and make sure they are doing everything for the team.
“We always work hard from the shape of the team and we are always going to get chances. It is a big game that we are looking forward to, but one we know we have the players to get something out of it,” he added.