Preston North End manager Alex Neil says that his side will know what to expect when they take on Gareth Ainsworth’s Chairboys at Adams Park on Saturday.
The Lilywhites make their second trip to the season to the home of Wycombe Wanderers and he says his side must show their qualities in order to get the desired result.
Speaking to iFollow PNE to look forward to the clash against the former North End winger and his team, the gaffer said: “They are very direct in what they do. They make every ball a dead ball, whether it is a throw in, a goal kick or a free kick.
“The ball gets worked forward, they have physical players at the top end of the pitch; they flood forward in numbers and they will make it difficult.
“We know exactly what is going to come, we just have to make sure that our performance is en point and we cope with the physicality of the game, but we also show moments of quality when we have the ball and see what we can do.
“They have a method that has reaped them success. They got out of League One and albeit they are currently bottom of the table, they have been competitive in all the games.
“I have watched two or three of their games this week and every game they get opportunities. They are dangerous and if you are not up for the fight against them, you have problems.
“They have got good options at the front end of the pitch. They have Daryl [Horgan], who we know, is busy and can get into good areas, put a good quality cross in.
“They have been competitive, taken a few good scalps and we know we need to perform well for this one.”
The last trip there, at the beginning of January, saw the Lilywhites humbled in the Emirates FA Cup third round and Alex says that if he was a player, he would be using that as an extra incentive to perform on the weekend.
“I don’t think it is something we will be talking about, but naturally, as a player, when you have been somewhere and got a disappointing result and not put in the performance you expect, then there is a little bit of extra motivation – I know I would as a player.
“I would be thinking ‘that wasn’t good enough for me and I could do better’.
“I don’t think it will have any bearing on the game, but in terms of mentally for the players, I would certainly be using that in terms of getting myself ready for this one.
“It will be a very different team, which is why I don’t think it will have any relevance to the match. It was a team that hadn’t really been playing, there were a lot of players that were given the opportunity to and the fact that we conceded so early, made it difficult.
“We lost the coaching staff that day, some of the players – it was a really bizarre day and one we wanted to quickly forget, because the performance was poor and we know we need to go down there and play a hell of a lot better if we are going to win the game.
“Everybody had left and there were only two or three of us left, but it was a game of football at the end of the day, it is not as if it is rocket science and we are doing anything that you are thinking ‘wow, I can’t believe we did that’, but it was just odd.
“It doesn’t happen very often, so we had to quickly adapt. We didn’t start the game well, conceded a couple of poor goals and it was day to forget for us.
“This one is very different. We know there are three points at stake, we need to get more points on the board and I am sure Wycombe will be looking at this, knowing they are starting to run out of games now and they will know the importance of this one.”
That afternoon, Andrew Hughes was handed the captain’s armband for the first time and the Scot says that his Welsh defender has become an integral part of the side and was a miss when he was not available for last weekend’s visit of AFC Bournemouth due to a shoulder injury.
“Hughesy when he has generally been fit, has been in the team – he has been an ever-present when he is fit, whether that is at left back or centre back.
“We brought Liam in and, unfortunately, he picked up a knock; we then put Hughesy in one and Greg to left back and I think that has worked well for us recently.
“We have good balance there and Hughesy’s pace has helped us down that flank and Greg’s knowhow, nous and experience has been great, so, I think that has worked for us and we’ll see how Andrew is for this one and see if he is available,” he added.
There’s more from Alex, as he discusses the return of Sean Maguire from injury and also the fact that this week marks 12 months since fans were inside Deepdale – just click on the video at the top of the page to watch the full interview.
You will be able to watch the full game live on iFollow PNE this weekend; with match passes available now for £10. Jonathan Breeze and former PNE defender Paul Sparrow on commentary duties from just after 2.30pm – click here now to get yours now.