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Gaffer On Excitement Of New Campaign

4 August 2016

Manager Simon Grayson is looking forward to getting the 2016/17 campaign underway this weekend at the Madejski stadium.

North End's final away trip of last season saw a 2-1 win over Reading back in April, but a lot has changed for the Royals since then and the PNE boss is expecting a tough test against Jaap Stam's side on the opening day. 

"They've obviously got a new manager in Jaap Stam, different personnel, and it's very difficult at the start of a new season to work out what team a club are going to play, but ultimately it's even harder when a new manager is there as well. 

"As we've said many times we will be respectful to the opposition and try and work out how they are going to play but it's going to be about what we try to do on Saturday, then again on Tuesday and the following Saturday and through the season. 

"We are the away team going to a big club who probably underachieved last year who are looking to have a successful season. It doesn't matter who you play in the first game of the season, you have to play everybody twice and ultimately they are very competitive and difficult games. 

Speaking of the anticipation of the start of the new season, the gaffer continued: "The excitement is no different for the players and the staff, whether they are staff that have been here a while or new ones, new or old players, it's about what we are going to do as a group together. 

"We said when we came back this pre-season if anybody needs any help whether it's a player or a member of staff then you go and help each other out. It's a big trait that we tried to create at this football club because if you are pulling in the right direction and helping each other out then it can only make your jobs easier."

The Reading game kicks off a new season for North End after a successful first year back in the Championship last term, and though the aim is always to progress, the manager and his staff aren't getting ahead of themselves. 

"We can't make bold predictions that we will be going out to do this that and the other. We can't think that because we finished 11th last year that we should automatically be finishing higher than that, you've got to earn that right. 

"When you look at the teams that we finished above last year, some of those teams will have a real go this year with the players that they are bringing in so ultimately we are still going to be a small fish in a big pond because of the level of competition. 

"That doesn't mean to say that we can't be successful and it doesn't mean to say we have no ambition within ourselves of what we want to try and achieve. 

"The first ambition is to make sure we are a Championship club at the end of the season, that has to be the case for everybody I don't who they are. 

"Teams are never too big to go down and names don't give you a divine right to win football matches. 

"That's how we have to be but we will keep working and working to finish as high as we can do again."

You can hear more from the manager on this weekend's game and the coming season on PNE PlayerHD now by clicking on the video below. 


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