Preston North End manager sent best wishes to Derby County’s Andre Wisdom ahead of the clash with the Rams on Wednesday night.
Speaking to iFollow PNE about the player, who he worked with in his time as manager at Norwich City, Alex was keen to stress his hope that the defender would be back in action quickly.
“I worked with Andre at Norwich and what has happened to him is horrendous, so we are really hopeful that Andre recovers and he gets back on his feet as quickly as possible,” said the gaffer. “He’s a big strong lad and hopefully he will get through that okay.”
Looking ahead to the club’s 5,000th Football League game, against one of our fellow founder members, the PNE boss said he had been impressed with his next opponents and the blend of youth and experience in their squad.
“Derby have got some very good players,” he continued. “Their forward line has got a good combination; it has experience, there’s a bit of youth in there as well. They have got good mobility and guys who have been proven at this level for a long time, so we know it is going to be a tough match.
“I have watched their first two games and they have deservedly won those two games and we are hoping we can go and put in a good performance in this one.
“Their Academy is really strong; they invest a lot of money in that, but for that to work you need top experience pros in and about them and that’s what they have at the moment, it is really good balance in that regard.
“They have the likes of Curtis Davies, Matthew Clarke - the centre half - Wayne Rooney, Tom Lawrence, Chris Martin and Martyn Waghorn; there’s a lot of really experienced players who have operated at this level or above this level for a long period and when you mix young, enthusiastic and energetic players in amongst that, it can be a really good mix and I am sure the experienced boys will be helping the young lads learning their trade.”
They will, of course, be without the aforementioned Wisdom and also Tom Lawrence, who was red carded at the end of their home win over Reading at the weekend, but Alex feels they have plenty of strength in depth to cope with the loss of those two regular starters.
“Tom Lawrence is a big blow for them. He has been involved in more of their goals across the season than any other player, so we know he is an important player – he has scored against us before, so we know the threat he can carry.
“But equally, they have a lot of good players who can come in and fill that role. They have Duane Holmes, Jozefzoon and the young player, Knight, who plays wide as well, so they have good quality.
“They have a good squad, but you would expect that, because they have invested a lot of money in that squad and that is reflected in the fact they have guys like Wayne Rooney playing for them. We know and understand the quality they have got, but we have to try and concentrate on putting in the best performance we can ourselves.”
The manager admitted that results are the only thing that matters at this stage of the season and said the team would be doing everything to compete for a top six spot: “We are at a stage of the season where performances don’t really count. No one cares about that, if you don’t win, it is not good enough and unfortunately football is a lot more complex for us than that.
“We look at how we have played, what we have done and where we can improve and I think we have been unfortunate in that we have only taken one point, but it doesn’t really matter.
“We have to figure out a way – certainly in the next game – how we can maximise the points and give ourselves the best chance of still competing in the last six games, so we can still try and get into that top six,” he added.
There is more from the manager as he reflects on reaching 5,000 games and also about the topsy-turvy nature of results since the resumption; just click on the link at the top of the page to watch the full interview.