Glynn Snodin felt that Preston’s performance in their victory at Southport last night was a sign that their build-up to the new season had risen another level.
The visit to Merseyside saw a 4-0 win for PNE, Jordan Hugill, Andy Little, Will Keane and Josh Brownhill getting the goals.
It was a fourth clean sheet of the pre-season, adding to the three shut-outs in the play-offs at the end of last season.
North End assistant manager Snodin told the Evening Post: “It was a great performance and very enjoyable to watch.
“Okay, the first 10 minutes was a bit so-so as the lads adapted to the pitch.
“After that opening spell I thought the lads were fantastic, a pleasure to watch.
“We are trying to give everyone a similar amount of match time and as much time on the pitch as possible.
“The lads who played last night looked sharp, their passing, movement, one touch and two touch stuff was very impressive.
“When you are all on the same wavelength and things click, you get a good performance like that.
“We have seen a step-up in fitness levels.
“On Monday they had a really tough session – all with the ball – we worked them hard with everything monitored by the sports science staff.”
North End chose to rest Joe Garner, Jermaine Beckford and Paul Gallagher last night, Snodin saying they would be back in action for Friday night’s clash with Motherwell at Livingston.
Instead, Hugill led the line up front, with Little, Brownhill and Kyel Reid in attacking midfield positions behind.
Brownhill and Alan Browne were the only two players asked to complete the 90 minutes.
Keane came off the bench to score his first goal for Preston since joining on a season-long loan from Manchester United.
Snodin said: “It was nice to have four different scorers and there was good movement for all of the goals.
“Will Keane was pleased to get off the mark, it is always nice to score for a new club whoever it comes against.
“We didn’t play Garner, Beckford or Gallagher, we felt they had played enough minutes in other games and we wanted to see what some of the others could do.
“On Friday we head up to Scotland to play Motherwell which will be another tough game for us and a good marker to how we are going.
“Day by day the lads are looking fitter and stronger, so we should be seeing another step-up in that game.”
Snodin gave a pat on the back to youngster Clive Smith who played the second-half last night at right-back.
He is a second-year scholar and also featured in last week’s win at Bamber Bridge.
“Clive has come in from the academy and I thought the kid was brilliant,” said Snodin.
“He is an honest lad, wears his heart on his sleeve and has got a lot of talent. It was good experience for him.”