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Grayson set for derby match

4 August 2013

Preston manager Simon Grayson is ready for the challenge of his former club in Round 1

Preston North End were dubbed 'The Invincibles' when, without losing a single match, they were crowned champions of The Football League in its inaugural season of 1888/89. 

Now the Lilywhites are looking to mark The League's 125th anniversary with a promotion that could put them on the road back to their former pre-eminence.

They started the anniversary season by entertaining fellow Football League founders Wolverhampton Wanderers in Saturday's Sky Bet League 1 opener, drawing 0-0, and now face local rivals Blackpool, also at Deepdale, in a Capital One Cup First Round tie on Monday evening.

Manager Simon Grayson, who knows all about the derby fixture with Blackpool having cut his managerial teeth with the Seasiders, is eagerly looking forward to what supporters are relishing as a two-game bonanza to start the season in style.

Grayson told "There's real excitement and anticipation among the fans and I'm feeling the same. We've got a feel-good factor around the place after a good pre-season and hopefully we can keep it going.

"People outside our area might not see this fixture [Preston v Blackpool] as a big local derby, but believe me it's a fierce rivalry and it's as important to Preston and Blackpool fans as the Liverpool, Manchester or North London derbies are to fans of those clubs."

As Grayson's team look to put down a marker for the campaign the Preston fans will be eager to see the club's new signings in action, particularly former Bolton Wanderers and England striker Kevin Davies.

"We've still got a lot of last season's group," noted Grayson, "and I'm pleased about that as I am about the new players we've brought in. 

"Kevin will be the one that everyone knows best, but there's been a positive reaction from the fans to the way we've strengthened the squad."

Grayson will also be expecting a positive reaction from his new-look team to the challenges that lie ahead in a season that the manager hopes will bring a personal milestone as well as success for the Lilywhites.

Having led all three of his previous clubs - Blackpool, Leeds United and Huddersfield Town - to promotion from League 1 he is aiming to make it a quadruple of triumphs by taking North End up to the Championship.

"I've been fortunate enough to get those three promotions on my CV and I'd obviously love to get another one under my belt," said Grayson.

"To do it with Preston would be tremendous. With the club's history and standing, and with a really good fan base, the potential is certainly there to reach the Championship and hopefully beyond."

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