Preston North End manager Simon Grayson wants to turn back the clock and return Deepdale to being a venue where the opposition fear to play.
Grayson will oversee his first home game in charge of North End tomorrow when they host Stevenage (3pm).
The Lilywhites have been poor hosts this season, winning only four of their home league games.
And it’s that record which Grayson wants to drastically improve, Boro’s visit one of six games remaining at Deepdale this term.
PNE are set to have David Buchanan available, the left-back having recovered from a tight hamstring suffered in last week’s draw at MK Dons.
Grayson said: “It seems ages since I signed the contract to join Preston and it will be nice to get back to the home ground where I’m going to be working for hopefully many years to come.
“We need to re-galvanise the place, really get the supporters on side with the type of football we like to play. We’re looking to maintain the little run that we’ve been on in the last couple of weeks.
“Hopefully the supporters will come and see what we are trying to do in the short-term but more so in the long-term.
“I’m the sort of manager who likes to give people value for money.
“We owe that to the supporters over the next few weeks before the end of the season, and hopefully for years beyond.
“This is a new chapter for Preston and we want it to be a successful one.
“I want us to get the club back to the good old days of a few years ago where Deepdale was a really difficult place for the opposition to come.
“The fans used to see a lot of good football and a winning mentality spread through the whole club.
“It was a lively place when I used to come with other clubs, hopefully the people who used to give me stick on the touchline then will be on my side now!
“People use the cliché about this club being a sleeping giant, but it is.
“It has a fantastic fan base, I’m not sure how many clubs would have taken 1,000 supporters to Swindon and 700 to MK Dons.
“The aim is to start generating support beyond the 9-10,000 mark it is at the moment and try to get to 12-13,000.
“That only comes with winning football matches and we will try and do it in a special way if we can do.”
Grayson’s assistant Glynn Snodin watched Stevenage beat Brentford 1-0 in midweek, with the boss himself having run the rule over Boro at Scunthorpe the week before.
So North End should be well versed on what their visitors have to offer tomorrow.
With this the first home game in three weeks, the Deepdale playing surface should look in somewhat better condition than it did in recent matches.
Said Grayson: “It’s like a lot of pitches at the moment.
“I went to Notts County on Wednesday night and their pitch was poor.
“It doesn’t help when people train on it as much as they have done previously, but that is something we have to deal with between now and the end of the season.
“Deepdale has always been renowned as a good pitch, although with the weather and other circumstances, it has gone a little bit.
“The players showed against Bournemouth that they are capable of playing on it.”
Having Buchanan available is a big boost for North End.
The left-back said: “I felt my hamstring tighten up in the last 15 minutes at MK Dons.
“So I called over to the bench and it was best for everyone that I came off.
“I had a couple of days off training at the start of the week but it feels fine now.
“Stevenage we see as a big game, we’re four points clear of the relegation zone.
“We have to play the teams around us at home, that will ultimately say where we finish.”
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Weather for Preston
Monday 20 May 2013
Temperature: 11 C to 16 C
Wind Speed: 20 mph
Wind direction: West
Temperature: 9 C to 14 C
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