PNE boss’s cup of cheer

Simon Grayson has League Cup pedigree
Simon Grayson has League Cup pedigree
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The Capital One Cup – or the League Cup as it was formerly known – has been kind to Preston North End boss Simon Grayson over the years.

Grayson well remembers the day when he won the competition as a player with Leicester City in 1997.

Indeed, Grayson struck the winner for the Foxes in their semi-final victory over Wimbledon which took them to the final at Wembley.

And more recently, one of Grayson most memorable nights as PNE boss was when his team defeated Blackpool 1-0 this time last year in the first round of the competition.

This evening, Preston will be hoping they can make it into the second round of the competition once more when they travel to face fellow League One outfit Rochdale at Spotland.

“The League Cup is a good competition,” said Grayson.

“I was fortunate enough to win it as a player and I think everybody saw the excitement it caused last year when we beat Blackpool.

“We want to have a good run in it.

“If you get through to the next round, some big teams come into it.

“For the first time in a long time, Manchester United will be in the next round so you want to try to win tonight and get a big tie in the next 
round.”

Rochdale welcome North End to Spotland with their players and fans still buzzing from the automatic promotion they secured from League Two last season, although they did lose narrowly on the opening day of the new campaign – 1-0 at home to Peterborough United.

Grayson is expecting a good contest against Keith Hill’s team, who like to get the ball down and play football.

“I know Keith really well,” Grayson said. “He’s had some fantastic achievements as manager of Rochdale over the years and did ever so well when he went to Barnsley in the Championship.

“He came back to Rochdale and got another promotion last season.

“He plays the game in the right manner and has good footballers who want to play in the right way, so it’s going to be a good test for us.”

There were a number of established players left out the matchday squad altogether on Saturday for PNE’s game against Notts County, including Scott Laird, David Buchanan and Keith Keane.

But the North End boss hinted that he was unlikely to rotate the squad too much this evening.

“I’ve never been a big believer in making wholesale changes,” Grayson said.

“We have got a match on Wednesday dinner-time against Blackburn, so the lads who haven’t played will get some game-time.”