Preston North End manager is excited about heading to the Macron Stadium this weekend and the sight of 4,500 fans dressed up for Gentry Day.
Speaking ahead of the short trip down the M61 the gaffer said that whilst he was unaware of the tradition before signing up three years ago at Deepdale, he was again looking forward to being a part of the celebration.
“It’s a massive game,” he said. “It’s Gentry Day, which is a fantastic thing, I was totally unaware of it before I came to the football club, but it has been brilliant.
Click here to read the match preview of the Gentry Day trip
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“I think it was a good decision to make it local, so that 4,500 fans will be going; it will be a great atmosphere. We have seen players and supporters celebrating over the years with bowler hats and it is a really good day where everybody has the opportunity to celebrate those who have passed away connected with the Club.
“There is going to be extra spice in the game because it is a local derby and hopefully we can reward everyone with a positive result.
“Over the next 24 hours everyone who wasn’t aware of it before will be made aware of it in the dressing room and once they step out onto that pitch on Saturday they will certainly be aware of it with the majority of fans wearing their bowler hats.”
The Lilywhites’ opponents have had a difficult season, on and off the pitch, but with their takeover situation drawing to a close Simon believes their team has more than enough quality to get them out of their current plight.
“They have played well over the past few games that we have had them watched,” continued the North End boss. “They didn’t deserve to lose at Leeds last Saturday and showed the spirit they have within their group to keep going and get a point against a strong Ipswich team on Tuesday night.
“They have some good, experienced players; the likes of Davies, Pratley, Trotter, Danns, Heskey, Spearing – a lot of Premier League and Championship experience and who are desperate to get them out of the relegation zone.
“They have plenty to play for.
“They have had problems off the field as well, but I am good friends with Lenny [Neil Lennon] and he and his staff will be doing as much as they can to get out of the trouble they are in and they will have the belief they can do that.
“It is a tough game, regardless of it being a local derby, but another one where we have to go and do our job in.”
The PNE chief is good friends with the opposition management staff, having played with Neil Lennon and Garry Parker in a successful Leicester City side and admits that their situation is one that he has kept an eye on.
“When you are close to a manager you do feel sorry for them and you don’t like to see any football club with something hanging over them, like it has over the last few months and the last year, especially the supporters who follow them through thick and thin.
“Hopefully they can get things sorted, but we are trying to go there and put more misery on them and try and get the three points as we still have a lot to play for from now until the end of the season.
“We want to get back to winning ways quickly, so we will be focused on what we need to do, not just let the season drift along, get a few more points and try and keep progressing in the division,” he added.