Youth team coach Andy Fensome says that the upcoming FA Youth Cup clash against Blackburn Rovers is a great opportunity for the side.
North End travel to Ewood Park tomorrow night to take part in the fifth round of the competition against their Lancashire rivals, having already matched their achievement of reaching the same stage last season.
Rovers are registered as a Category One academy, but Fensome says that the players are well prepared for the task at hand.
He said: “They are Category One and they’ve always produced some good players.
“Tomorrow’s not going to be any different. It’s a really tough test for the players and hopefully they know what to expect. We’ve given them some information over the last few days and it’s important that they go and put it into practice.
“We’ve played against their U17s earlier on in the season but we don’t necessarily get to play the categories that they’re in. They obviously play against good teams week in week out.
“They’ll be up for it and they know all about us as well, they come to watch us, so hopefully the two teams will put on a good show.”
Prior to the young Lilywhites’ win over Oxford United in the last round, North End already knew their fifth round opponents.
And Fensome says that it will be a great experience for the squad.
He explained: “Ever since winning the last round against Oxford, we knew who we were going to play against if we won.
“It’s an opportunity for the boys to go and play a game somewhere different, under lights, and it’s a good stadium to go and play at and a good opportunity.
“It’s always nice for the lads to have obviously their families there but the more spectators that get there to get to see them is good for them.”
With a potential quarter-final tie against Arsenal the prize for the victors of tomorrow night’s clash, Fensome is keen for his players to not look beyond the next opponent, and wants the side to get off to a good start.
He said: “There is a carrot (the Arsenal game) but we keep that away. We don’t ever talk about the next game because you never know (what’s going to happen).
“I said that in the last round – it’s about the game coming up, it’s about Blackburn and it’s about playing well and getting through.
“Once the game’s on tomorrow night then who knows. It’s a stadium that’s under lights and the boys don’t get that opportunity very often. It starts frenetically, it’s all about who can perhaps get a foothold in the early on.
“It doesn’t always work out that if you get a foothold early on you’re going to do well, but at the same time it is nice to go and set yourselves up to go and play the rest of the game on the front foot.”
When the game kicks off at Ewood Park tomorrow night, first team manager Alex Neil could well be attendance.
Whilst the squad will be keen to impress the North End boss, Fensome added that they are always under pressure to perform in whatever game they play.
“What we’ve said is that there’s always people watching, it doesn’t matter if it’s a Saturday morning game or an evening under the floodlights, there always people watching,” he explained.
“Yes the manager hopefully will be there tomorrow night, and that is good, but at the same time there’s always scouts that come to our games, there’s always managers that are watching in different games, and videos now because people see a lot of video evidence.
“There’s always somebody watching, they’re always under pressure to play well and yes it should be in the back of their mind but it shouldn’t be an overriding factor.”