Simon Grayson felt his Preston North End side moved up a gear as their build-up to the new season continued with a 3-1 win at Oldham on Tuesday night.
Joe Garner scored twice in the second half after Eoin Doyle had opened the scoring with a fine finish for the visitors early in the piece.
For Grayson it was a marked improvement on what he saw in the 5-0 defeat to Fulham out in Ireland seven days earlier.
The PNE boss said: “We’ve got a lot of the conditioning work into the players.
“We were disappointed with certain aspects of the Fulham game but we’ve worked with the units defensively, and the midfield players, and got back to what was making us good last year.
“Being hard to beat with the discipline, the work rate etc, with different personnel and different systems.
“Tonight is another progression of players getting 60 minutes, 30 minutes and some 90 minutes and it’s all about getting those minutes on the pitch to keep progressing towards the Reading game.”
Chris Maxwell, Tom Clarke and Alan Browne all completed 90 minutes while Liam Grimshaw, Ben Pringle and Ben Pearson missed out with niggles.
Preston were waiting for news of Calum Woods’ injury after the defender was stretchered off in the first half with suspected knee ligament damage.