New PNE boss Simon Grayson wasted no time in making it clear to supporters what he is looking to achieve during his time at Deepdale – To turn three promotions into four.
The 43-year-old, who replaces Graham Westley as the new Lilywhites boss, led former club Huddersfield Town into the Championship last season after successfully winning the League One Play-Off final against Sheffield United.
Having also tasted promotion to the Championship in the past with both Leeds United and Blackpool, speaking to PNE.Com, Grayson insisted that he is expecting more of the same from his time at North End.
“Three promotions isn’t bad,” said Grayson. “I’ve obviously got the experience of being in the Championship for three years.
“I’ve taken Leeds to seventh and left them in a good position when we left them, and Huddersfield were also in a good position when we left there.
“I’ve got plenty of experience, but obviously people are going to look at my record here so hopefully I can turn three promotions into four somewhere down the line.”
Grayson had been on holiday in Dubai when the Club first contacted him, and after being made aware of Preston’s interest, he wasted no time in returning to the country to conclude the deal, spurning interest from two other clubs.
Having been out of work for three weeks since his departure from Huddersfield last month, he revealed he did not need asking twice to make a quick return to management with North End.
“It’s been a bit of a whirlwind the last few days”, the new PNE boss admitted. “I was made aware of the interest at the back end of the week.
“I was away on holiday and then negotiations obviously went well. Talks with people at the football club and obviously I am delighted to be back in work.
“It’s only been a short space of time that I was out of work. When I decided I wanted to come back into work it was basically a club that had to match my ambitions and my passionate side for football, and after speaking to everybody here it was a no-brainer for myself really.”
Grayson added: “I’m a football person and I love working. I was starting to get itchy feet already. I spoke to a few people in the game and they said if you had an opportunity to get back into quickly then take it because you can be out of the game for a long time.
“They were my thoughts as well, but it had to be the right football club. There were only two other clubs that showed interest in the ten days, but after speaking to Mr Hemmings this morning, and other people who have worked at this football club in the past it was a Club I couldn’t turn down.”
Having been in charge of the Terriers’ side that lost to Preston in the Capital One Cup earlier this season, Grayson knows his new side well, but confessed his surprise at not seeing the Lilywhites challenging for promotion this season.
“I’m aware of most of the players here as most of them played against us in the first round of the Capital One Cup earlier this year and beat us so I am fully aware of them,” he continued.
“It’s a Club that have under-achieved this year and it’s a club that should be progressing further up the league and even up the leagues into the Championship one day.
“This Club does not belong in League One, but it’s in League One for a reason, as were Manchester City, Nottingham Forest and Leeds United a few years ago, but it’s got potential.”
He continued: “It’s got people who are passionate about the football club who want to give the manager the opportunity to take it back into the Championship and hopefully beyond in the years to come.
“It’s not so long ago when this football club was in the Play-Off positions for the Premier League, never mind the Championship.
“We want to come into the football club and try and recreate that positive place, the passion amongst the supporters, the performances from the players, which will gather the spirit of what Preston North End is all about.
“It is a Club that has fantastic tradition and history, and hopefully we can be the ones that take it back to where everyone wants it to be.”
With eyes already on next year, he revealed that both he and Glynn Snodin, who will be joining the club as part of a reformed backroom set-up, were very impressed with what they saw from North End during their 2-0 victory over Bournemouth on Saturday, before confessing his admiration for his inherited squad.
“Glynn saw the game at the weekend and was very impressed by the players,” said Grayson.
“For whatever reason things haven’t happened for them and we’ve got to try and be positive with them, put the smile back on their faces, and try and create a real good atmosphere so we can finish this season in a positive manner, which can put us in good stead for next year.
“We’ve got a strong, powerful team here. We’ve got some good footballers and it’s now up to us to get the best out of them.
“Hopefully people will see what we’ve done at previous clubs in terms of man-management of players, wanting to play attractive football and try and get positive results.
“We’ve got to work with the players to make them feel comfortable in what they do, and let them play to the best of their abilities because that will breathe confidence and get results.”
Having led Preston to victory over Bournemouth at the weekend, Grayson revealed that John Dreyer will be staying at Deepdale and that he is looking forward to working with the former Luton Town, after acknowledging his importance to the new set-up.
“When I’ve been speaking to the Club over the last few days, keeping John Dreyer at this football club was something I wanted to implement,” he insisted.
“You need someone who knows the Club, who knows the players. It would have been a bit cold for me and Glynn to be coming in not knowing the players like John does.
“He knows what makes them tick, the good points, the bad points, and he proved on Saturday with the performance and the result that he knows what this football club is capable of. I’m looking forward to working with him.”
Ahead of his first game in charge against Swindon Town on Saturday, Grayson had the following message for supporters.
“Enjoy what we’re trying to do. Enjoy what happened at the weekend and get that feel back of having that every Saturday because there is nothing worse than as a manager, player or a supporter, when you’ve paid good money, but are going home disappointed in how your team have played and the result.
“We want to create a good feel-factor around the place. Glynn said the place was rocking here on Saturday. I want to bring the good times back and get people going home again with a smile on their face having seen their team play good football and get results.
“I’m not saying it’s going to happen overnight, but we’re going to have to try and build for the future and give ourselves the best opportunity to be successful.”