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Gaffer pleased with how his team have progressed

28 March 2015

Alexander relishing clash against second placed Preston

Graham Alexander admitted that he can’t wait for Sunday’s live televised clash against Preston North End at Highbury.

Alexander spent 10 years at Deepdale as a player, and even spent time in charge of the team on a caretaker basis.

Town fell to a 3-2 defeat against Simon Grayson’s men back in October, as a second half Joe Garner inspired hat-trick sealed the points for the North End.

The manager is hoping that his players will have learnt from that setback, and is hoping for revenge on the Fylde coast this weekend.

He said: "We know it's a big game, with the occasion of who we're playing. It's a big rival, a local derby.

"The TV cameras will be there as well which adds to it.

"It's the same as with all big games, you've just to break it down into what's important for us as a staff and players.

"That's the game itself, that's all we'll concentrate on.

"We don't need to emphasise to the players the circumstances of the game, they'll know that full well themselves.

"At the end of the day it's just a case of going into a game against a very good opponent and doing everything we can to get a result."

Alexander believes the game at Deepdale taught his players a lot, and that they’ll be better prepared this time around.
"We expected a full house.

"It's one of those games that, in the summer, when you're waiting for the fixtures, you look for.

"Whether you've got a previous connection to Preston like myself or not, it's a massive club, especially at this level.

"We felt in the previous game we handled ourselves really well, we were unfortunate not to get anything.

"But our players learned a lot about the step up in level."
"I think we proved to ourselves in the first hour at Deepdale we can go to any opponent in this division and do well.

"But in the last half hour there were things we could have managed better to get a positive result.

"There's been a steady improvement this season as the players have taken that onboard.

"We did make some naive mistakes at the start of the season when we played against this kind of opposition - our willingness to press forward and keep on attacking even when we're winning.

"We just needed to learn a little bit of game management - there's a lot of young players in the squad, who haven't played at this level.

"It's not that one game was a turning point but we have certainly learned from experiences like that."

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