Simon relishing Cardiff opener
Simon Grayson is relishing Town’s Championship opener at Cardiff on Friday night, but knows that his team are in for a very tough test.
Malky Mackay’s team are perennial Championship Play-Off contenders and with the acquisition of Craig Bellamy during the summer they look set to make another challenge for the Premier League this season.
“It is going to be a very tough for us; there is no getting away from that fact,” Simon told htafc.com.
“They have been around the Championship Play-Offs for the last two or three years now and they have showed their intentions again this season by signing Craig Bellamy. Cardiff will be looking at us as the new boys and will know that we will be up for the challenge. There is no pressure on us because everyone will be thinking it is a Cardiff home win, but we will go there and relish the opportunity.
“I am very excited about the game; there is a massive buzz about the town at the moment. The supporters have waited 11 years for the Club to get back into the Championship and they will be looking forward to watching us play against big teams in impressive stadiums."
Simon made seven signings during the summer and is pleased with the business that he did.
“It has been a short summer but a successful one; I have signed the players that I wanted to when I set out. All the players are match fit ready for the new season and we have built up a lot of enthusiasm – there is a real buzz that we can achieve something.”
Town were missing five players for the Preston match due to international call-ups all of whom made appearances, but it was Jordan Rhodes who once again stole the headlines scoring on his full debut for the senior Scotland side.
“It is huge credit to him that he was picked in the starting line-up and then he did what he is best at doing, which is scoring goals,” said Simon. “He had a few half opportunities that he made out of nothing and he took his goal very well - we are all delighted for him. He is a very low key, low maintenance lad who won’t be getting big headed about his achievements; he will come into work as normal and get on with his job. His goal is a massive boost for him and the football club.”
Simon continued: “Jordan has a got a big future in front of him and people will question whether he can make the step up from League 1 to the Championship, but I think he has got a natural ability to score at any level. He proved last night that he can score at international level, but he has got to work hard throughout the course of the season to score the goals for us and as a team we need to supply with him with the service.”
The international games this week have served as a distraction for Town’s boss, especially as he will only have a matter of hours with his full squad ahead of Friday’s game.
“Training hasn’t been ideal this week with the international games, as every manager will tell you. We will get a few players back today and then the rest Friday morning and that will be the earliest point when we get to do any team work. We had an eye on the players who played last night and they are all fit; Jordan only played an hour; Joel Lynch played the last 15 minutes of the Wales game; Ollie Norwood played the last ten of his match as did Sean Scannell the night before. It is good for them to be away on international duty and good from my point of view that they didn’t play too much football.
“Everyone is fit with the exception of Danny Ward who picked up a knock from the Preston game – he is a doubt but should be ok. Joel Lynch will meet us down in Cardiff today; Ollie is flying back home today and Jordan being the lad that he is drove home with his Dad last night and will travel down with us.”
To finish, Simon told htafc.com that his business in the transfer market may not yet be over.
“We are still looking at one or two players and the one thing that I have always had is the backing of the Chairman. Every time I have asked to go for a player he has supported me; if I went to Dean (Hoyle) and said to him that I felt we needed to strength a particular area then he would give me the backing.”
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