PNE stalwart Grezza joins Fleetwood as manager

Graham Alexander is the new manager at Fleetwood Town
Graham Alexander is the new manager at Fleetwood Town
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Preston North End legend Graham Alexander says the chance to step into management was too good to turn down as he waved goodbye to North End for a second time.

Alexander, 41, stepped down from his role as PNE’s head of youth yesterday to take the Fleetwood Town manager’s job.

He told the Evening Post: “I can’t believe I’ve left again but this is a great opportunity for me.

“I’m excited to be starting my first job in management but I am also sad to be leaving Preston. The North End fans have been great with me since I came back a year-and-a-half ago.

“I’d formed a strong attachment to the lads I was coaching in the youth team.

“Last night I popped into see them to say goodbye and wish them luck for the future.

“I told them that things like this happen in football sometimes, people come and go.

“This all happened very quickly, with me meeting Fleetwood for the first time on Tuesday night.

“I came back and took training as normal on Wednesday, then I got a call to say Andy Pilley wanted to speak with me again.

“It was then that I got offered the job and things got finalised yesterday afternoon.”

Chris Lucketti, who was youth coach at PNE, follows Alexander to Fleetwood as his assistant.

It’s nearly 12 months since Alexander jointly managed Preston on a caretaker basis with David Unsworth following Phil Brown’s sacking.

Grezza said: “I got a taste of it then and that’s why I didn’t play again apart from that 10-minute cameo against Charlton in April – I realised coaching was what I wanted to do.

“I was more than happy to take up Preston’s offer in the summer to be in charge of the youth set-up and I’ve really enjoyed that job.

“Going to Fleetwood is a fresh start, and I can speak for Chris Lucketti too by saying we’re both really excited.

“There’s quite a few former Preston players at Fleetwood, I’m still in touch with Barry Nicholson and Youl Mawene.”

Meanwhile, North End host Crewe tomorrow (3pm), with Graham Westley calling for his side to carry their cup form into League One action.

PNE haven’t won at Deepdale in the league since September 29, but have triumphed twice in front of their own fans in the FA Cup.

Westley said: “There has been a lot more freedom in our play in the cup games than we have shown in the league.

“You look at the form in the cups and think ‘why have we played with such adventure and exciting attacking ethos in those games and then stuttered a bit in the league’?

“Maybe the burden of expectation, the desire of the lads themselves to succeed has got the better of them.

“In the league we have almost wanted to hold on to the points we had in the bag.

“Attacking is the way to win, scoring goals is the way, playing on the front foot is the way.

“We want a sense of purpose, allow talent to win through.

“There’s a lot of talent in the team, Jeffrey Monakana, Stuart Beavon, Lee Holmes - you aren’t going to find better talent at this level.

“Keep feeding those lads, keep them attacking and we’ll put plenty of points on the board.”