Grayson ready for McCarthy’s threat

Tom Lawrence

Tom Lawrence

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Preston North End boss Simon Grayson knows what to expect from his old pal Mick McCarthy when Ipswich Town visit Deepdale this weekend.

The pair are one and two respectively in the list of longest-serving managers in the Championship, McCarthy landing the Tractor Boys job three months before Grayson arrived at PNE.

McCarthy is having a bit of a rough time at the moment, Ipswich inconsistent in the league and recently knocked out of the FA Cup by National League side Lincoln City.

But not for one moment is Grayson expecting an easy ride on Saturday.

Grayson said: “People are talking about there being a bit of disharmony.

“If there is, Mick is going to roll his sleeves up and get his players fired up to get a good result.

“We are in for a really tough game, we can’t forget that they have some good players and a really good manager.

“Mick has been someone I have grown close to over the years, when I first started out he was there to offer advice and was always on the end of a call if needed.

“When I left Leeds, Mick was the first on the phone to say I had done a good job and to carry on going.

“It speaks volumes that he is the longest serving manager in the Championship.

“Where he has worked and what he’s done, I’ve got a huge amount of respect for him.

“I know that Mick will have Ipswich organised and disciplined.

“Last week at Huddersfield there was nothing in the game, they went there and did a very good job on Huddersfield.

“But then a decent goal from Izzy Browne opened up the opportunity for Huddersfield to win it.”

Grayson says that from the outside looking in, the visit of Ipswich could be likened to that of Wolves and Burton in November.

Mindful that those games ended in draws, Grayson says North End’s approach must be spot-on.

“We are just above Ipswich in the table, but there are no easy games,” said Grayson.

“People might have talked this way when we played Wolves and Burton a few weeks ago.

“We only picked up two points from those games so we have to make sure we work hard and start properly.

“If we don’t start properly we will find it hard to pick up the three points.

“We have to be on the front foot, take the game to them.”

McCarthy added Toumani Diagouraga to his squad this week, the midfielder joining on loan from Leeds for the rest of the season.

Ipswich have also agreed a deal to sign Steven Taylor, the former Newcastle defender.

He was recently released by MLS side Protland Timbers but international clearance being needed is unlikely to see registered to play in time against North End.

Goals have been a problem for Ipswich this season, with them scoring 28 in their 27 league games.

Their top scorer is Tom Lawrence who is on loan from Leicester, the forward having bagged seven goals.

Grant Ward has five goals to his name and Brett Pittman four, while Freddie Sears has netted twice.

Despite being beaten at Huddersfield last week, the Ipswich display heartened McCarthy – he felt it was a good reaction to their FA Cup humbling by Lincoln

McCarthy said: “We were beaten by a good team. I thought up until their first goal there wasn’t much in it.”