Familiar foes primed for rematch

Preston North End's Joe Garner battles with Crewe Alexandra's Harry Davis last season
Preston North End's Joe Garner battles with Crewe Alexandra's Harry Davis last season
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Preston North End and Crewe are ready for a swift reunion at Gresty Road in the Capital One Cup.

After three years together in League One, PNE might have been thinking that their trips to Cheshire had come to an end after promotion to the Championship.

However, the first-round draw sent them down the M6 once again to a venue which has not been the happiest of hunting grounds recently.

Last December’s 1-1 draw followed on from two successive defeats to the Railwaymen on their home patch.

North End manager Simon Grayson told the Evening Post: “We know a lot about Crewe having played them a lot over the last couple of seasons.

“We know how they like to play, they are a footballing team and their manager Steve Davis likes them to play out from the back.

“This is not an easy tie for us, we want to get through and so do they.

“We need to show the same sort of attitude, desire, organisation and quality which we did on Sunday.

“What is difficult for Crewe, like many clubs, is that don’t have the biggest of budgets.

“They use the loan market well, move players in and out, while something they have always done is produced good players through their academy.

“That is a fantastic trait to have and whoever they bring through, always know how to pass the ball well and have good movement.”

During the summer there was incoming and outgoing movement within the Crewe squad.

Among those to arrive was midfielder David Fox after he turned down a new contract offer at Colchester.

Fox trained for a couple of weeks with North End in the early part of last season while he was looking for a new club.

Crewe boss Davis believes the visit of the Lilywhites will be a good test for his side who kicked-off the season with a 0-0 draw at home against Port Vale on Saturday.

Davis said: “I think it is a good draw for us because it will provide us with another challenge against one of the stand out sides of our division last season – I thought they deserved to be promoted.

“I am not sure how Simon will assess the competition.

“He may look to give one or two of his squad a chance, because he may have one eye on the game at the weekend because they have stepped up into a very difficult league.

“We saw their game against Middlesbrough and they made a good start with a point there.

“All we can do is focus on ourselves and what we want to do.

“We want to do well in the competition and want to try and get through because you can get some great draws in the League Cup.

“It would give us a lot of confidence if we can put in a good performance against a Championship side.

“Although Preston will have better players on show than Port Vale had on Saturday, I hope our players will use the game as an opportunity to express themselves more.

“If you look at the play I thought Port Vale were better than us, I’ll be honest.

“They had the better of the play and the better of the chances.”

Crewe have a doubt over skipper Harry Davis – son of the Alex manager – who suffered a knee injury during pre-season.