Manager Alex Neil says that he would take a win over a performance at this stage of the season.
The Lilywhites' gaffer has seen his side perform well over the past couple of weeks without getting the results the team’s play has deserved and he admitted to iFollow PNE that he would be happy with any type of display if it came with the three points.
“Football changes that quickly” he said. “We just need to try and focus on the next game. Football is tough because it is magnified at this stage of the season; everything becomes ‘the best bit of quality you have ever seen’ or the ‘biggest mistake you have ever seen’ and that is purely because what is riding on the game.
“We have been performing pretty well in the games, but we have just not converted some of the pressure and chances into goals and at this stage of the season you would take a scrappy win over a decent performance, but we have just not found a way to do that in the last couple of games.
“It should be a good game. They always bring a good following. I have seen them four or five times this season and their fans are excellent.
“We need our fans to back us and hopefully we can perform well for them, but more importantly, win the game.
“We don’t want to be a team that performs well and doesn’t get the result. We will be focused on the match, the lads will be ready and let’s hope we can go and win the game.”
The expectancy levels around Deepdale have risen with the team’s continual improvement over the season and Alex has been pleased with the development of his squad, particularly the younger players.
“We all want [success] right now,” he continued. “That is always the case in football, everyone wants immediate success, whereas sometimes – certainly here – if it’s not this year, it will be next year and if not then, then the year after.
“We are trying to build something for the longer term, it is not just for two months. I want to make sure that when we go up – and we will at some stage – that we are ready to go up and fight our cause and our corner, but our young players have done brilliantly for us. “At times during this season our young players have executed things excellently and at other times we have been a little bit naïve in our play, but we are a team in progress; we are going to get better.
“The lads’ movement has got better and we now have to be a little more clinical in certain areas of the pitch, become more experienced – which you get from playing games at this level – and I can only see us improving.”
And those improvements and evolution of the team, means he thinks it will be two very different teams than the ones that met in North End’s first away game of the season back in August at Elland Road.
“We’re very different to when we first met Leeds earlier this season.
“We have evolved a lot and a lot of the younger lads have a lot more experience and have performed well this year.
“They have changed as well; they have changed manager and the personnel has shifted as well – they have a lot of injuries at the moment – so it will be a game where both teams will be desperate to win the game and what happened earlier on in the season will not have any reference to this game,” he added.
To watch the full interview with the manager, where he also discusses the importance of skipper Tom Clarke to the squad and other matters, click on the video above.