PNE boss had happy time as player at Leicester

Frank Rolling, left, and Mark Robins, right, congratulate Simon Grayson scoring a goal during his playing days for Leicester
Frank Rolling, left, and Mark Robins, right, congratulate Simon Grayson scoring a goal during his playing days for Leicester
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Simon Grayson is looking forward to welcoming his old club Leicester City to Deepdale for Preston North End’s final pre-season friendly tomorrow.

The Lilywhites boss played 229 times for the Foxes, a time he rates as the best spell of his playing career.

It is a last chance for some match sharpness ahead of the opening day clash against Notts County.

Grayson told the Evening Post: “I had six good years at Leicester, with five Wembley appearances and a few medals.

“It is a fantastic club and it was the best spell which I had as a player.

“When I get the chance to go back there I always enjoy seeing a lot of old friends.

“I know their manager Nigel Pearson and his staff very well, hence why we have been able to arrange this game.

“Leicester, Liverpool and Burnley would not have agreed to play us if they didn’t think they would be well treated and be given a good game.

“This will be another good test for us, as Liverpool and Burnley were.

“We could have organised lower-key games where we had a lot more of the ball.

“But I wanted us to be tested defensively as well as offensively, and that has happened in the two games against Premier League sides.

“On Tuesday night against Burnley I was pleased with how the team sharpened up in the second half.

“Leicester will be a similar sort of test to Burnley, with them having fantastic pace and energy about them.

“Their movement of the ball is good and we will have to be able to cope with that.”

Against Burnley, Grayson pushed four of his players through 90 minutes – keeper Jamie Jones, defenders Bailey Wright and Tom Clarke, and midfielder Josh Brownhill.

Ben Davies, Alan Browne, Andy Little and Joe Garner all played until the final 15 minutes, with Paul Gallagher featuring for the first hour.

Only two substitutions were made at the interval, with Scott Wiseman and Neil Kilkenny playing just the first half.

Tomorrow, Grayson intends giving longer runs to those who did not feature as much in the Burnley game.

“The team will be different tomorrow than it was in midweek,” said Grayson.

“There are certain players who didn’t play too much in the Burnley who will get more game time against Leicester.

“Before Tuesday’s game I said to the players that I haven’t made my mind up on what system we will play and who will play on the first day of the season.

“I told them to go and show me what they are capable of doing, make sure that I could not drop them. Before the game tomorrow I will be saying exactly the same thing, and that will be the case with every manager.”

This will be the seventh friendly for North End, the six so far having produced five wins and a defeat.

Chorley, Bamber Bridge, Halifax, Morecambe and Burnley have been beaten, with Liverpool winning 2-1 at Deepdale a fortnight ago.

Midfielder Brownhill has scored in four of the games, with the goals coming from further and further out. He netted a tap-in against Liverpool, a penalty at Bamber Bridge, while his goal at Halifax was a sweetly-struck shot from the edge of the box.

But his 89th minute winner against Burnley was the best of the lot, the 18-year-old rifling home a 35-yard free-kick.

Former Preston favourite David Nugent will be in the Foxes squad tomorrow, fresh from scoring a fine goal in their 3-2 win at Walsall in midweek.