Manager Simon Grayson says his players will have to be at the top of their game both physically and mentally at Rotherham this weekend.
However, the Lilywhites chief stressed that it would no easier than the previous games against Newcastle United, Norwich City etc. Speaking ahead of the Roses clash at the AESSEAL New York City Stadium he reflected on the previous month’s points accumulation and looked forward to the trip across the Pennines.
“I think we can be really pleased with the month,” he said. “If we had got what we deserved out of the Newcastle game, then it would have been an even better month. We have built off the first six or seven or eight games. We lost a lot of games we were well and truly in during that period, where we didn’t get the breaks or didn’t turn chances into goals, but since then we have gone back to being hard to beat.
“We have made sure that we give ourselves every opportunity to try and win a game and we have to do that against everybody.
“Any team will tell you, you have to do what is needed to win a game – defend your 18 yard box, mix it up in midfield, play short or long to get the ball up the top end of the pitch and ultimately take your chances when they come along.
“We have been working really hard, right from pre-season, and we have got the rewards of that in this difficult last month. Now we have to make sure that we don’t finish this group of games on a poor performance and result, because it will undo a lot of hard work.
“You get the same amount of points whether you playing a team near the top of table or the bottom of the table and this is a big mental game for us and we have to make sure we are right. We have to earn the right to get three points.
“They have a new manager at the club who is experienced and is implementing his own ideas as manager and we know what we need to do.
“The players have been told how we need to play and what we need to do and we will go there in good spirits and try and finish this run of games off in a positive manner. “
The appointment of Kenny Jacket has already had an impact, the Millers being a minute away from taking all three points from their trip to Ipswich Town last weekend and the PNE boss is aware that players will be looking to impress their new manager in South Yorkshire.
“Kenny has gone in there thinking he has a group of players who can get him results,” he continued.
“There are plenty of games to do that and you saw what impact Neil Warnock had last year when he went into the club. A couple of results can really lift the confidence.
“The new manager going in can raise the bar with the players, who will all be trying to impress and we know what to expect. It is always a tough place to go and with a newish manager in charge they will be looking to get back to winning ways and start a run that can get them up the division, so we are aware of all these factors and be working very hard to try and go and win the game.”
One of the host’s form players is striker Danny Ward, who worked with Grayson during his time at Huddersfield Town and his former gaffer believes his own side will have to match Rotherham’s work rate in order to get the positive result they are looking for going into the international break.
“I had Danny Ward at Huddersfield and he is in a decent run of form at this time.
“They went to Ipswich last week and went very close to getting the win. Those can be the breaks you don’t get when you are at the bottom of the division.
“But, like Kenny’s teams usually are, they have gone back to being well organised, and we have to match the physical side of it; play when we need to play and be ruthless in both boxes – which is the same with every game that you are involved in,” he added.