Andrew Hughes is expecting another tough test when PNE face League One side Accrington Stanley this weekend.
It’ll be the second game of the week for Hughes and his team-mates, who were beaten 1-0 on Tuesday by Bolton Wanderers.
The Lilywhites will make the short journey to the Wham Stadium on Saturday for a 3pm kick-off against John Coleman’s side, who will be looking to build on their 11th-placed finish in the third tier last season.
“They’re a good side,” said Hughesy in an interview with iFollow PNE. “I’ve played against them before a couple of years back so I’ll know what to expect and it’ll be another tough test.
“I think we need to look past the defeat side of things [from Tuesday night]. I think it’s just about getting minutes into the lads and just getting the fitness ready for the first game against Hull.
“Of course it’s good to get into winning habits, but it’s not the end of the day if we win or lose in pre-season.
“It’s about getting the minutes in the legs, trying to stay injury free for everyone, so when the first game comes everyone’s fit, we’re all on a level playing field, we’ve all had minutes, we’ve all had equal gametime, and it’ll surely give Frankie a headache come the first day of the season.”
Hughesy was part of the ten changes which were made on 67 minutes against Bolton and head coach Frankie McAvoy felt they added a little bit more intensity to the game than those who started.
The defender, who played on the left-hand side of a back three, felt that had a lot to with the intense heat at the County Ground, which has carried on through the week.
He said: “It’s easy to say [we increased the intensity] because we were watching on the sideline while the lads played 70 minutes in this heat so you’d expect the tempo to go up when fresh legs are coming on.
“It’s part and parcel of the game. It wasn’t ideal the heat being the way it was, but it was the same for both teams.
“I’ve just been constantly sweating [this week], so you’re just constantly having to drink water, but it’s good. We can’t complain about it because it’ll soon be gone and it’ll be Baltic again!”
Supporters were able to attend that fixture on Tuesday night against Bolton and the case is the same against Accrington Stanley, and after so long without the fans being inside stadiums, Hughesy was pleased to welcome them back.
He added: “It was almost a little bit weird because you kind of got used to having no one there and then you’ve got to get used to fans being back again.
“It’s great for the game, football’s nothing without the fans so it’s great to have them back and we can’t wait to have the first game at Deepdale. Hopefully we’ll have a big crowd there that can cheer us on.”