On Saturday afternoon, it will be Simon Grayson’s 234th game in charge of the Lilywhites. This draws him level with David Moyes as the third longest-serving manager in the club’s history.
And the current incumbent in the Deepdale hot seat is not planning on giving it up any time soon. Reflecting on the season with The One And Only at Springfields this week, the 47-year-old Yorkshireman said that progress was continuing to be made and that the next step in the club’s development is already at hand.
“It’s like building a house, you have to put the foundations in first and keep improving it and moving it along,” Simon told the matchday programme. “Doing the basics to start with, but ultimately then taking it to another level and that’s what we feel that we have done since I have been here.
“Looking back at last summer, the recruitment was okay, then it went really well on deadline day. Then in January we went again as well and you can see the different style of football with the new players that have helped us play that way.
“There is a confidence, not an arrogance, about the team, that we feel we can beat anyone on our day. Hopefully come the end of the season it is going to be a matter of improvement and we have finished higher than we did the previous season. When you look and factor in that this year the Championship has been far more competitive and harder than last year, to do what we have done where were we have been bordering on the Play-Off spots for the most part of the season, speaks volumes.
“We have tried to install that consistency into the players; we’ve lost our way a little bit the last few games, but it doesn’t take away from how well we have done and the teams we have beaten. I use the example of Brighton, who have just been promoted and probably will be the champions of the Championship, we took four points off them.
“We beat Reading at home, gave Newcastle a good game, beat Huddersfield at home and we should have beaten Sheffield Wednesday at home. We have had some good performances against top teams and good performances against teams in and around it as well. We are very proud of what we have done and we have to keep going and improving over the summer for next year.
“Work has already begun [for next season]. We are always looking at recruitment right the way through the season. You are always looking at players across the board and in a number of different positions in the team.
“Players will leave the club and new ones will come in, that’s part and parcel of football. We will look out ourselves and see what we need to do to improve. Trying to keep improving by analysing what is required within the group, the budget we have to spend and try and spend it as wisely as possible, like we have done with every window.
“Some of the players we have brought in now have certainly played very well on small fees and free transfers and we certainly could have recouped a lot of money over the last 18 months with the players we have brought to the club.”
For an extended interview with the manager, plus plenty of other management staff features, including a head to head quiz between Steve Thompson and Glynn Snodin, make sure you pick up your copy of Saturday’s programme.
There’s also all our regular features and plenty on our opponents and the programme will be on sale from Friday afternoon from the Sir Tom Finney Stand ticket office or from sellers inside and outside the ground on matchday.