PNE boss Grayson: Reading an unknown quantity

New Reading boss Jaap Stam.

New Reading boss Jaap Stam.

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Preston North End boss Simon Grayson believes Reading will be an unknown quantity on the opening day of the season on Saturday.

The Royals are under new management in the form of former Manchester United defender Jaap Stam with the Dutchman having brought in a host of new players.

PNE boss Simon Grayson.

PNE boss Simon Grayson.

It means it will be a different trip to the Madejski Stadium for North End with Grayson’s side having triumphed 2-1 in Berkshire in the final away game of last season.

The PNE boss said: “They’re a different team from last year.

“There’s different players, a different manager.

“It’s difficult looking at the opposition for the first game of the season because over pre-season their systems like ours will have changed and personnel will have changed.

“It’s very difficult to get an idea of what teams are doing.

“You’ve got more of an idea if the manager and players have been there the previous season but it’s a bit more difficult for us this season.

“But we’ll go there, be hard to beat and make sure that we take the game to them as well and try and replicate the same performance that we ended the season with.”

Stam is taking on his first managerial job having previously been assistant at Ajax.

Grayson said: “He’s had a fantastic playing career and learnt his trade back in Holland and learnt from some fantastic managers and coaches and obviously saw an opportunity to go to Reading as the manager now.

“He’ll obviously be wanting a successful season. We don’t know how it’s going work out or how they’re going to play really.

“We’re respectful of everyone that we play but it’s what we try and do on that particular day as well.”

Grayson believes the key for North End is getting the balance right at the Madejski with the North End boss wary that the opening day can throw up some freak results.

He said: “I don’t think the first game of the season is a marker for anything really.

“If you get thumped 6-0 it’s obviously a bit of a downer, if you win 6-0 then it can be a bit over the top because everybody expects you to do that every week.

“It’s about getting the balance right between making sure we’re professional in our approach and making sure we know what we’re going to do and that the opposition aren’t going to have an easy game against us.

“I’m there to win the game that’s for sure and if you can’t do that the next best thing is a draw.

“Away from home against Reading who’ve spent a little bit of money it would be a decent result for us but ultimately we want to go there and try and win.”