PNE boss keeping the faith

Preston North End's manager Graham Westley
Preston North End's manager Graham Westley
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Graham Westley says he has faith in the Preston squad to rise above their recent inconsistency.

North End’s last seven League One games have resulted in three wins, three defeats and a draw.

That has put them in eighth place heading into this afternoon’s game against Sheffield United at Deepdale.

A touch more consistency would lift them into the top six, and Westley is confident his players can achieve that.

Westley said: “We will be up and down all season, just like every team is.

“The key is to make sure your down level is a winning one - that is what the best sides do.

“When they are at their best, they absolutely smash the opposition.

“And when they are at their worst, they still manage to post a win.

“This season we have smashed sides when we’ve played really well.

“But when we have been at our worst, we’ve been beaten and some of those results have been horrible.

“What we have to do is eradicate the newness from our play.

“We’ve made mistakes when putting some combinations together on the pitch which just don’t work.

“I’ve learned lessons with team selection, and selection issues will go away as I learn about who works better with who.

“I think this squad has within it, the ability to win when it is not at its best.”

Westley was hoping to see the best of his North End side today against the Blades.

It’s at Deepdale where their strongest performances have come to date, the wins against Huddersfield, Crystal Palace, Swindon and Hartlepool evidence of that.

And Westley wants to use the home games as the platform to what he hopes can be a successful campaign.

He said: “Our best football this season has come at Deepdale, no question about that.

“We were good at Doncaster the other week and showed an improvement in our away form there, but it’s here where we have played some very good stuff.

“The fans and players are building an unity and you can really sense that.

“The lads are desperate to do well for the fans and sometimes our poorest performances have come when they’ve been too desperate.

“They have to learn to harness their emotions and make sure they play with the right type of anger to get a result.”

Westley, meanwhile, says he has already done some forward planning with regards the January transfer window.

“You have to try and get ahead of the game,” said the PNE boss.

“Of course you can’t always guarantee that every deal you plan for in January will come off because football is a funny game.

“Players who are available now might not be available when the window opens.

“But generally speaking you get a good clue as to which direction things are going with people.

“You open your mind to the types of possibilities.”