Nicky Wroe says respect rather than any sense of fear is what Preston North End will display when they visit League One leaders Tranmere tomorrow.
Until last Saturday, Rovers were unbeaten in league action and pulling away at the top of the table.
Successive defeats have pegged them back, but they’ll still the side setting the pace at this level.
North End go to Prenton Park (3pm) with their tails up after Tuesday night’s 3-2 win over Scunthorpe United.
Midfielder Wroe was their hat-trick hero in midweek, netting his treble in the opening 35 minutes.
And it will be PNE’s intention to get on the front foot straight away tomorrow afternoon, just as they did at Glanford Park.
“We go into every game with confidence, we fear no one,” Wroe told the Evening Post.
“If we take our best game into any match and perform like we did in the first half on Tuesday, then we’ll give anyone a good game.
“Tranmere have had a great start and have had it for a reason.
“They must be doing things right and it’s up to us to deal with that.
“We will try and get on top of them and dictate play straight away.
“Getting out of the blocks quickly is something we put a lot of emphasis on.
“It paid off a few times earlier in the season and then again on Tuesday night.
“Our aim is to start putting some results together and the more we do that, the more confidence we’ll get.
“We’re evolving as a squad, building every week, and I’m sure you will see some better performances and results as the weeks go by.”
Wroe’s treble in midweek took his season’s goal tally to seven, putting him joint top scorer with Akpo Sodje.
There had been a bit of a gap when it came to the 27-year-old Yorkshireman finding the back of the net.
He’d scored four goals in the opening six games, the last of those coming against Swindon on September 2.
So Wroe took a great deal of pleasure in his return to the scoresheet.
He said: “I think seven goals is a decent return so far for a midfielder and obviously I want to keep scoring.
“Thirteen is my best in a season, so I’m a decent way towards beating that.
“There’s no reason why I can’t keep scoring with the movement the team has and the way the lads created chances.
“All three on Tuesday were good team goals, with us linking up well.
“I like the attacking midfield role I’ve got at the moment.
“John Welsh sits in there a bit more, and that gives me the freedom to get forward into the box and create things.
“We saw that with the first two goals at Scunthorpe.
“When the ball went up to Jack King in the opening few seconds, he looked favourite to win it so I was able to take the gamble and push on, knowing that Welshy was sitting in.
“And for the second, I was able to make the forward run into the box to meet Jack’s cross which was a great one.
“As for the third, we got the free-kick but it didn’t quite run as smoothly as we’d intended!
“Scott Laird’s lay-off wasn’t exactly what we’d practised, I had to adjust myself before shooting.
“But it was just nice to see it go in.
“We would have all liked to have pushed on and scored more goals in the game.
“The second half was more difficult after we’d dominated the first half.
“We didn’t really take our game on, Scunthorpe threw a lot more forward and made things difficult.
“But you’ve got to accept that you’re not going to have it all your own way.
“We ended up defending more than we would have liked and Steve Simonsen had to make that great save at the end.
“It was our first-half performance which got us the result and we got the job done.”
Competition for the central midfield slots at North End is probably the most intense in the squad.
Wroe and Welsh have had the shirts in the last three games, and in midweek, Andy Procter and Joel Byrom joined them to beef up the engine room in the closing stages.
There’s still skipper John Mousinho to come back after suffering a dose of mumps.
And the increasingly versatile Jack King rates the centre of midfield as his strongest position.
So there’s plenty for Graham Westley to chew over, and plenty to keep Wroe and company on their toes.
Wroe said: “The competition does drive you on to try and do better.
“There’s a lot of competition in the whole squad, particularly in midfield, and you’ll always have someone knocking at the door.
“There are some quality midfielders currently not in the side and not even in the squad.
“So you have to be on top form and not get complacent, otherwise someone will get your place - that can only be good for the side.”