Happy anniversary for PNE boss

Simon Grayson during the victory at Wolves last SaturdaySimon Grayson during the victory at Wolves last Saturday
Simon Grayson during the victory at Wolves last Saturday
Simon Grayson today reached his third anniversary as Preston North End manager and is proud of the progress made by the Lilywhites in that '¨time.

The 46-year-old is the 14th longest-serving boss in all four divisions and is excited about the challenge ahead as he enters the fourth year of his Deepdale tenure.

When Grayson took over in February 2013, PNE were sitting in 17th place in League One.

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They picked up 21 points from the 14 games he had in charge that season, with the club finishing 14th.

In 2013/14, North End reached the play-offs but fell at the semi-final hurdle, before Grayson guided them to promotion at Wembley last May.

This weekend they will head into their home game with Sheffield Wednesday in 11th place in the Championship, Grayson’s men having lost only four of their last 21 league games.

Grayson told the Evening Post: “These last three years have gone really quickly, it 
only seems like two minutes since I got the call about coming here.

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“I was in Dubai at the time, having a holiday after being sacked by Huddersfield.

“Even though I had only been out of work for a fortnight, I was getting restless and wanted to be working again.

“I came back from Dubai on the Sunday and joined the club on the Monday.

“There are a group of lads still here from that first morning I came in to meet everyone.

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“We have changed it around a lot since then – the success we have had and progress we have made is very encouraging.

“Three years ago, Preston were in the bottom seven of League One and there were difficulties at the club.

“But I saw things in the long term and knew I could get things right by trusting my ability.

“As a club, we have progressed in every transfer window with the turnover of players, as well as moving forward in terms of the league table.

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“When I decided to take the job, I felt it was the right club at the right time and that has proved to be the case.”

Grayson’s current task involves establishing North End in the Championship.

Looking longer-term, he believes a challenge to try and reach the Premier League is a realistic one.

“It has been proved by other clubs who have gone up, that money doesn’t necessarily buy you promotion,” said Grayson.

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“Everyone wants to get to the Premier League – that is where the headlines are, where the money is, where the publicity is.

“But you can’t run before you can walk, you have got to put building blocks in place in the Championship.

“The second season in the Championship is often seen as the hardest one because other clubs know about you and what your players have done in the first season up.

“We have got ambitions to be a Premier League club, we will strive for that but first the foundations have to be put in place.

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“If we are still in the Championship in the next four or five years, we are making progress still from where we came from.

“Only three clubs can go up each year, so how you do it and achieve it can be done in varying ways.”