Boss previews first West Yorkshire derby of the season
Simon Grayson is looking forward to what he described will be a “special occasion” when Huddersfield Town and Leeds United go head-to-head for the first time in over two years on Saturday; kick-off 12.30pm.
Grayson’s connections with Town's rivals run deep, but he told htafc.com that he wants nothing more than to take three points off them on Saturday.
“I am looking forward to the occasion because it is another big game for us,” said Simon.
“The rivalry is good between the two clubs, but it is also an important game because we want to get back to winning ways. Everyone is looking forward to it, but at the end of the day it is just another game where we are trying to gain three points towards our target of staying in the Championship.
“There is going to be an added edge because of the rivalry, but my professional head is certainly on this game as if it was any other.”
He added: “Any Yorkshire derby is a special occasion, but I know that Leeds fans will be playing it down. Believe me though if we win on Saturday then Leeds fans will be devastated because of the amount of stick that they will get. It means a lot to both football clubs no matter how much Leeds try and play it down, even I tried to when I the Leeds manager!”
Simon became the Huddersfield Town Manager just 19 days after leaving Leeds and told htafc.com that he was fortunate to have been offered an opportunity so quickly by Dean Hoyle.
“I moved on from losing my at job Leeds not long after leaving. I left with a lot of dignity and I was very fortunate that I was offered an opportunity to get back into the game so soon. I am working for a very passionate Chairman who is moving the Club in the right direction. Everyone knows my connections with Leeds, but my staff and I have moved on and are enjoying working at Huddersfield Town.
“I have come to a football club where I am appreciated by the people above me and within the surrounds of the Stadium on a match day. I jumped at the chance to join Huddersfield because I could sense, after meeting the Chairman just once, that he had a driving ambition to move the Club forward. He has backed me in terms of the financial side of it and he understands how I like my team to play; I feel like we have a good relationship.
“Everyone is pulling in the right direction; you just have to look outside around Canalside Sports Complex to see the improvements being made. Our expectancy levels are still relatively low and all we are concentrating on doing is staying in the Championship; whereas Leeds United is expected to get out of the division. Neil (Warnock) has encountered the same problems that I did when I was the Leeds United manager, but at Huddersfield Town I have got everyone working to help make this Club successful.”
Town currently sit four places and two points above Leeds in the npower Championship and know a win could propel them back into the Play-Off mix.
“We have made a good start to the season, but in the Championship if you aren’t at it you will get found out and that is what has happened to us over the last few games. I can’t fault the players for their efforts when they have pulled on a Huddersfield Town shirt this season. The team that I currently have feels like my team I have recruited the majority of them. We have got a group of young and hungry players who want to make an impact, but with them we have also got a number of experienced players who have got a desire to succeed. The group is looking to move forward and progress.”
One of those players that Simon recruited is the former Leeds United midfielder Adam Clayton, who Town’s boss believes has been fantastic so far this season.
“He is an important player for us,” said Simon. “He has been very influential this season, but Adam will be first to acknowledge that there are other players within the team who have contributed to our success this season. Even if he had played against Middlesbrough we still could have lost the game. I was surprised when I was able to sign him, but I am delighted that he is here. He enjoys working with us and will only get better.”
As always the boss was very coy about his injured players Jermaine Beckford, James Vaughan and Sean Scannell, however, he was even more so than usual ahead of the Leeds game. When asked if they would be fit for selection he replied: “They could be!”