North End manager Simon Grayson, who has guided three separate clubs to promotion from the third tier, has left as little as possible to chance as Preston bid to end their play-off hoodoo on Sunday against Swindon.
The Lancashire club, who have failed in nine previous play-off attempts and pipped to automatic promotion on the final day of the regular season by MK Dons, will make their first Wembley appearance since 1994 this weekend.
“A lot of our preparation is done to make sure the players have got enough information for the day,” said Grayson, who has previously won promotion to the Championship with Blackpool, Leeds and Huddersfield.
“Look at Deepdale now. Our pitch is actually wider than Wembley but not as long, so we’ve changed it around.
“We’ve just given ourselves the best opportunity to work on what we needed to do and a little fine detail here and there can work for you.
“It might not work for you, who knows? But at least we’ve given ourselves the best opportunity in our preparation.”
Preston bounced back from their 1-0 last-day defeat at Colchester to cruise past semi-final opponents Chesterfield 4-0 on aggregate, while Swindon edged out Sheffield United 7-6 after a thrilling second leg ended 5-5 at the County Ground.
Both Preston and Swindon’s players have since had a fortnight’s break to prepare for the biggest game of their respective careers.
“We can’t do anything about having a two-week gap,” Grayson added.
“But what we’ve tried to do in the meantime is get enough work into the players to keep us ticking over.
“We’ve been working on the shape of the team etc, but it’s also been an opportunity for the players to recharge their batteries.
“Hopefully we’ll get the right balance, but the game can’t come quick enough now.
“The players are looking forward to it, the supporters are, everyone’s excited and a bit nervous and apprehensive but I think that’s probably more the supporters than the players.
“We can’t wait for it to come around now.”