Bolton’s Chorley-born boss Phil Parkinson will be looking for his side to extend their five game unbeaten run when they visit Deepdale on Friday night.
The Trotters’ boss spoke ahead of the game and says that the international break has provided an opportunity get over a number of small niggles in his squad. Speaking to the Bolton News this week, he said: “Andy Taylor is making good progress and David Wheater has had some treatment on a muscular problem. We’ve been able to work more with Will Buckley, who is looking a lot sharper now.
“In general I have been very pleased with the way the lads have come back willing to work hard and carry on with the run we have been on.
“It's a great game to get back to, a local derby at Preston, which I am sure our fans are looking forward to. We've got to do our bit.”
The whites’ record of late has lifted them off the bottom of the table and the former Bradford City boss is looking for his side to kick on as we enter the busy winter period.
“In the last five games we’ve given ourselves a chance,” he continued. “We’ve got ourselves on the shirt-tails of those above us and now we’ve got to push on again.
“All the performances, which have been better, have got to go up another notch. The individuals who have taken their game up a level have got to go up again.
“That’s what we have been stressing to the lads already this week. Of course we’re pleased with what they’ve done between the last two international breaks but this is now a really important run of games up to January, and we’re ready for it. I feel like we’re enjoying it. The lads and all the staff are focussed on this next batch of games.”
Wanderers will be keeping a close eye on the fitness of Aaron Wilbraham and Adam Le Fondre, who are close to recovering from hip and calf injuries, respectively and will not be far away from returning in front of the TV cameras in PR1.
“The squad is probably better than it has been for a while. We just need Wilbraham and Le Fondre to get over little niggles to strengthen the striking department, because I feel we’re a bit light in that area.
“We’ve got lads like Craig Noone and Will Buckley who are absolutely chomping at the bit to get a game, so we’re pleased with how we’re looking. We had an in-house game this week and had two good elevens out there.
“The lads are on a high – or as much as you can be, because we’re still in the bottom three – but in terms of where we are right now compared to the first 11 games, we’re in a lot better place, mentally.
“We have got to take that into this next run of games, starting with Preston on Friday,” he added.