Simon’s passion play for PNE

New boss: Simon Grayson
New boss: Simon Grayson
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Simon Grayson is confident his passion for PNE will shine through after taking over as manager at Deepdale.

The 43-year-old became North End’s fourth managerial change in the space of a little over three years yesterday when he agreed to replace Graham Westley .

And Grayson had a message to those PNE supporters who might have lingering doubts over his appointment due to his previous links with arch-rivals Blackpool.

In a three-year stint at Bloomfield Road between 2005 and 2008, Grayson earned hero status among Tangerines fans after taking the club to the Championship for the first time since 1978.

The former Leicester City and Aston Villa full-back believes the fans will have no problem accepting him as soon as they see how passionate he is to bring success to the club.

He said: “There won’t be a problem on my part.

“There wasn’t a problem when I went to Huddersfield from Leeds because they are classed as rivals.

“Maybe I’m setting myself up by going to all these clubs.

“If anybody sees us score a goal, they will see me celebrating in a real passionate way because I care about football and who I’m employed by. Where I’ve worked previously doesn’t bother me one little bit.

“I’m looking forward to being as passionate for this football club as I have been for all the clubs I’ve managed and played for in the past.”

Grayson’s record as a manager at League One level is nothing short of phenomenal.

As well as leading Blackpool to the Championship, he has also presided over two other promotion campaigns from the third tier of English football with Leeds United and, most recently, Huddersfield Town last season.

He is eager to repeat that success at North End and is also keen to test himself at the very highest level – something he believes he can achieve with North End after having those ambitions snatched away from him when he was harshly sacked by Leeds and Huddersfield.

He added: “I am very confident in my own abilities, although it’s been knocked by being sacked twice in the past year.

“But I left both those clubs in a far better position than I found them in.

“I want to be a Championship manager again quickly and ultimately, like any other football manager, I want to be a Premier League manager.

“That’s going to take time, but I believe the club has that capability and when you have got somebody like Trevor Hemmings, who is passionate about the town and the football club, then you have an opportunity to try to fulfil that ambition.”

Despite a troubled season for PNE, Grayson sees no reason why the team cannot finish it strongly – even hinting at a promotion push.

“I am not going to say yes or no about whether we can get in the play-offs,” he said.

“But I remember at Blackpool when we got promoted – we won the last 10 games. It just shows what you can do.”

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