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Simon Grayson Ready For ‘Fierce’ Derby

19 November 2015

Manager Simon Grayson is looking forward to pitting his wits against his former employers at the weekend.

The North End boss signed for Rovers as a player on the same day as goalkeeping coach, but the two and the other staff are looking to mastermind bragging rights for North End fans in Saturday’s derby, a game he expects to be highly-competitive.

“There are some good games; we had Bolton here recently, but the Preston-Blackburn and Preston-Burnley derbies are right up there with the real fierce local games and it is one everyone is looking forward to,” said the gaffer.

“Blackburn have sold out their tickets and we will have a lot of people in as well, so it has the makings for a fantastic atmosphere. There’s the added spice of Blackburn having a new manager in charge, but we want to be getting the three points no matter who we are playing.

“We are on a good run; we have to keep maintaining that and keep picking up as many points to keep moving up that table as much as possible.

“Players respond to big crowds and the bigger atmospheres. In League One last year it was often difficult when you have 100 away supporters on a cold Tuesday night, but Saturday will be decent and everyone is looking forward to it coming round.

“Both sets of supporters, both set of players will be ready for it and hopefully we can out on top.”

For the second game in succession North End line-up against a team with a new manager at the helm, after Gary Bowyer was sacked and replaced by Paul Lambert.

So does that mean the management are throwing out their preparatory notes and reports once again?

“I think this is little bit different to when we were at QPR,” continued the Lilywhites’ chief. “They had quite a few more options available for Neil. He had a bigger squad that Blackburn have. They are a little bit restricted in what they can do.

“They can’t go out and two or three new players between now and Saturday because of the embargo they have. I know their squad; I have an idea of how they will play and I don’t think Paul will go in and change it radically, because there isn’t the options to go and do that. He will tweak one or two things, I am sure of that, but we will be respectful of them and do what we have to.

“We will look to take the game to them and give everything we can to go and win the game.”

The PNE boss will also face his former striker Jordan Rhodes for the first time since he sold the forward to Rovers when manager of Huddersfield Town and he was asked what he thought of the sought-after striker.

“He’s average!” Joked Grayson. “He’s one of the best strikers outside the Premier League, that’s why a lot of teams have looked at him.

“He’s got a price tag on his head and full credit to Blackburn that they have turned down probably £10m or £12m for him in the last year.

“He knows where the back of the net is, which is crucial to any striker. I know a few of his faults and weaknesses as well and hopefully our defenders will continue with the way they have been doing over the last few weeks. They have made it very difficult for the likes of Charlie Austin and other top strikers to get anywhere near our goal. 

“We are aware of Jordan, but I look around their squad and Lawrence looks to be in decent form, they have Conway and Marshall who are threat as well and we will have to make sure we impose our own game as well as stopping them from playing.”

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