Graham Westley doesn’t feel he has a point to prove when Preston North End face his former club Stevenage tomorrow.
The North End manager’s sole focus at Broadhall Way will be on trying to beat third-placed Boro and stretching PNE’s four-game unbeaten run.
It is almost 10 months since Westley left the Hertfordshire club to join Preston.
He left behind a legacy of successive promotions from the Conference to League One.
Four of the players who featured at various stages of that success – Scott Laird, Joel Byrom, Chris Beardsley and John Mousinho – will be in the North End squad, having left Boro in the summer.
Westley said: “We will relish tomorrow as we relish trying to get any three points.
“I know there is another dimension to it with some of us facing our former club.
“Like myself, the four lads won a lot of medals at Stevenage and helped the club move forward substantially.
“Going back there, we don’t have a point to prove.
“We have all moved on and made the decision to move on.
“We’re all grateful for the good times we had at Stevenage, and we enjoyed winning medals together with the football club.
“I haven’t got a bad word to say about the place – it played a big part in all of our careers.
“My focus is on winning the three points.
“Stevenage are going well and their results would suggest they have improved.
“They finished sixth last season and currently sit in third place.
“Credit to them – they are where they are and they’ll take some beating.”
North End are without the suspended Paul Huntington tomorrow, with Bailey Wright set for a move into the centre of defence to partner Chris Robertson.
Jeffrey Monakana makes a welcome return after serving a one-match ban, his creativity on the wing having been sorely missed in Tuesday 1-1 draw with Carlisle.
It is hoped that John Welsh will be fit after missing the last two games – firstly through suspension and then with a knee injury.
David Buchanan has been back in training this week, and will possibly be available to boost North End’s limited defensive options.
How Westley decides to use Lee Holmes remains to be seen after the winger got two run-outs as a substitute in the Carlisle and Yeovil games.
Holmes set up Graham Cummins’ late equaliser in midweek.
Said Westley: “It was a bit of a risk playing him for so long the other night, and a risk I didn’t particularly want to take.
“But I couldn’t see any other way forward at the time.
“With Jeffrey Monakana being out suspended, we didn’t have thrust in the wide areas.
“Bailey Wright and Scott Laird didn’t really combine in the most positive way against a deep-lying defence.
“We needed someone to take up higher and more aggressive positions, and beg more questions by popping into little pockets.
“Lee Holmes has that in his natural game.
“He’s fine – it was a bonus to have got him through two games and held him together.”