No pressure says PNE boss

The cup that cheers: Graham Westley arriving at Fratton Park on Saturday
The cup that cheers: Graham Westley arriving at Fratton Park on Saturday
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Graham Westley believes his Preston North End players are not under any extra pressure to pick up a win tonight against Bury in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy regional quarter-final at Gigg Lane.

Despite winning just once in the past six games, the PNE boss refutes the suggestion that his team is ‘in need of a win’ regardless of what competition it may come in.

North End drew 0-0 in a dour game at Portsmouth on Saturday, and that followed possibly the worst performance of the season at Deepdale the previous week when they lost 3-1 to Crewe Alexandra.

Only a 2-0 win over Gillingham in the FA Cup has given PNE supporters anything to cheer about in recent weeks.

“I don’t think being needy helps anybody,” Westley said.

“I think if you are winning people, you will know that a big part of ultimately lifting trophies is to learn to be united and to believe in each other.

“You need to keep improving and working hard.

“If you keep doing all those thing, ultimately you win football matches, which creates the opportunity to lift trophies.

“The minute you start feeling needy about something is when you start putting yourself under unnecessary pressure.

“I don’t think it pays to put anybody under that kind of pressure.

“Everyone here wants to win the next football game.

“The players are committed professionals who will win lots of football matches, especially once they truly get themselves together and they truly understand what I’m asking them to do when they go on the field of play. We’ve got a lot of very good players and we are evolving in a positive way.”

Tonight’s match has been rescheduled after the original tie was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch a fortnight ago.

On that occasion, Westley felt the match could have gone ahead but he believed Bury were keen to have the game called off.

He said: “I would have played the game on the night, but they did not want to.

“They’ve got one or two players back from injury now so you can probably understand why they wanted it off.”

Westley made six changes to the team on Saturday from the one that took to the field against Crewe.

He will be forced into at least one change this evening as central defender Chris Robertson serves a one-match ban for picking up his fifth yellow card of the season at Fratton Park.

The Deepdale boss revealed he named his team for tonight’s encounter shortly after the final whistle against Pompey.

“I named the team on Saturday night so that the players could prepare properly,” Westley said.

“When you have a long journey like Portsmouth, where the players really have to take care of themselves, the best way is to let them all know how we are going to go.

“We have got the opportunity to win our way into the regional semi-final and that is what we want to do.

“The game is our next one and the mind-set is always to win the next game.”

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