PNE and Wolves bosses staying the course

Two of the longest-serving Championship managers will be prowling the Molineux technical area this weekend as Wolves and Preston North End clash.
James Henry has scored seven goals for Wolves this season and is the highest scorer on their booksJames Henry has scored seven goals for Wolves this season and is the highest scorer on their books
James Henry has scored seven goals for Wolves this season and is the highest scorer on their books

Simon Grayson celebrates three years in the PNE job next week, while Jackett is only three months behind him in terms of his length of service in the West Midlands.

Grayson is the 14th longest serving boss in the four English divisions, Jackett the 17th longest.

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Only Karl Robinson, Steve Bruce, Sean Dyche and Mick McCarthy have served longer in the Championship.

That is not bad going in a division where job security is not exactly generous.

This season, 13 clubs in the Championship have changed manager, Paul Clement and Neil Redfearn given their cards this week by Derby and Rotherham respectively.

One point separates Wolves and North End ahead of their game, the home side in 11th and the visitors three places below.

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Jackett’s men are four games without a win and have drawn the last three.

That run will not draw Grayson into a false sense of security.

The PNE boss said: “Wolves are a club who have stuck with its manager and you have seen over the years what he is capable of doing.

“They still have a very strong squad and Molineux is a great venue to go to.

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“Wolves are a side who have still got a chance of getting into the play-offs, that is still their ambition.

“They just missed out on the play-offs last year, so it is a big test for us regardless of them not having won for a few games.

“We have to go there and carry out a game plan that we will take to them to try and win.

“We are in a good run of form at the moment we want to keep progressing and want to get as many points as possible.”

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The clubs were together in League One two seasons ago, Wolves promoted as champions in May 2014.

North End followed them up 12 months later.

“Wolves are a big club which ended up in League One but got back up very quickly,” said Grayson.

“They are going in the right direction, and they probably over-achieved last year.

“Everyone wants the golden ticket of getting to the Premier League, Wolves and Preston are no different to any club in the Championship.”

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Wolves have been involved an exchange of words with Benik Afobe in recent days. They sold the striker for £10m to Bournemouth last month and there were claims from a club official that Afobe had not been trying as he tried to force the move.

That drew an angry response from the striker on Twitter, who denied such claims.

Afobe scored 10 goals before his move and remains Wolves’ leading scorer, ahead of midfielder James Henry who has netted seven.

Joe Mason has been signed from Cardiff to replace Afobe.