Simon Grayson is keen for his Preston side to halt Queens Park Rangers’ recent revival in its tracks when they meet at Deepdale this weekend.
The West London outfit come to Lancashire on the back of two successive wins, results which have hoisted them out of the relegation mix and into the relative comfort of 15th place.
With North End in need of three points to stay in touch with the play-off pack, there is plenty to play for.
Sharing the technical area with him will be Ian Holloway who in November swapped the Sky Sports studio for a return to management.
It was rocky to start off with, a victory in his first match in charge followed by six defeats on the bounce.
The wins over Birmingham and Wigan in the last week came after a run of two draws and three defeats.
Lilywhites boss Grayson said: “You know what Ollie is like, he is a bubbly character and positive about what he wants to do.
“He got off to an average start but they have had two great results in the last two games, winning convincingly at Birmingham and putting in a dogged performance to beat Wigan in midweek.
“They are fighting to get away from the bottom reaches of the division and are inching away from it.
“QPR have spent a bit of money, Ollie has turned around the squad with different players who have brought a bit more pace and mobility to the team.”
Striker Matt Smith and midfielder Luke Freeman were two of the new arrivals at Loftus Road last month.
Smith made the short move from Fulham for £500,000 and has scored in the last two matches.
In August, he netted for the Cottagers in their 2-1 victory at Deepdale.
Freeman was signed from Bristol City, brought in to add creativity to the engine room.
Their other business in January included two loan deals from Italian clubs.
Ex-Manchester United midfielder Ravel Morrison joined from Lazio, while they borrowed Sampdoria’s Pawel Wszolek.
Holloway was delighted with the way his side dug in to beat Wigan on Tuesday night.
Like PNE last Saturday, they found Wigan a tough nut to crack.
Said Holloway: “We got an ugly win but the character has come and you can see that the lads are growing.
“The work-rate is there – they are all wearing the shirt with so much pride.
“We’re getting that feeling that we can win games, and that’s absolutely vital.
“We need a feeling that we can be good at this level and are moving forward.
“We got beat up and smashed to bits by Wigan but we were in for a fight.
“Happy days...we’re not poncey QPR, we’re up for it no matter what.
“I think you can see that the togetherness is coming.
We’ve changed so much, but everyone is contributing – even the substitutes who come on are making the difference.”