Graham Westley thinks Preston North End learned a valuable lesson from their recent defeat against today’s opponents Coventry City.
North End face the Sky Blues at Deepdale a little over a fortnight on from being beaten 3-2 by them in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy.
Until the game ticked into stoppage-time, Westley’s men looked on course for victory and a step closer to Wembley.
But two goals in 90 seconds turned the contest Coventry’s way, hence there being an element of revenge in PNE’s mind going into this afternoon’s meeting.
Westley said: “We have learned a lot of lessons from the JPT tie.
“The way we played out the last 10-12 minutes after we went 2-1 ahead gave us plenty to think about.
“As a team we have not had to see too many games out when we’ve had a tight lead.
“When we’ve won games this season, we’ve tended to do so quite convincingly and have cruised into the last few minutes with a decent lead.
“We haven’t had too many narrow leads to defend, and what happened at Coventry could prove to be a valuable lesson.
“As a team you have to learn to be stronger for victory and stronger for defeat, and the stronger you become the more victories you’ll get.
“I’m not really talking about revenge when it comes to playing Coventry again.
“As professionals it’s up to all of us to get ourselves ready to go in the game, have a deep sense of determination to want to win it regardless of what has gone on previously.”
It will be Thorsten Stuckmann between the posts today, Steve Simonsen having been in goal for the JPT clash.
With Simonsen released earlier this week after having his contract cancelled by mutual consent, Stuckmann is set for a long run in the team as Westley looks to establish a No.1 after swapping and changing his keepers this season.”
Said Westley: “Both Stucki and Simmo wanted to be first choice and they worked very constructively together.
“My feeling was that it would be good to bed some confidence down into one of them and move in a different direction to what we had been doing.”
Meanwhile, Westley says that ball boys shouldn’t be used in a ‘tactical way’ by clubs, with their role limited to getting the ball back in play as quickly as possible.
The PNE boss was commenting after Chelsea midfielder Eden Hazard hit the headlines for kicking a ball boy in the League Cup semi-final at Swansea in midweek.
Westley said: “Strangely enough I went to watch Brentford play Leyton Orient on Tuesday night and there was an incident when the Orient keeper got involved with a ball boy there.
“I thought at the time that was totally wrong, but at the same time it is totally wrong the ball boys can be instructed to work against the spirit of the game.
“If ball boys are deliberately stopping the game or slowing it down, maybe the referee can step in and get a ball into play through the fourth official.
“It’s nobody’s place to be attacking ball boys and they should be there to do the right job, not the wrong one.”