Simon Grayson has gone full circle since starting his career in Leeds United's youth ranks, and is now back at his boyhood club that he holds so close to his heart.
Since taking over the top job at Elland Road, Grayson has managed to instill a winning mentality in the club and bring a sense of urgency back to their strive for ascension to the upper echelons of English football.
He has managed to retain the momentum built from last year’s successful promotion campaign and apply it to the rigours of the Championship.
With seven league games remaining in the regular season, the Yorkshire club are comfortably sitting in the play-off positions, something Grayson admits to be an overachievement.
“We have had a good season so far, we have probably overachieved slightly as it’s our first season in the Championship after getting promotion from League One,” he told Yahoo!
However, a second successive promotion is still a possibility and Grayson is relishing the challenge.
“It is [a possibility] but there are another 12 teams who could say the same thing.
“There are teams who were favourites for the division who are around the play-offs and then there are teams who are surprising people like ourselves and Norwich. We have got a great opportunity just like the other 10 or 12 teams to achieve an unbelievable target of getting to the premiership and hopefully we can do that.”
The patient and professional attitude of Grayson outshines that of the boyhood fan who wants success instantly.
Even though he is “immensely proud” to be part of a club steeped in the history thanks to the work of Howard Wilkinson and Don Revie, this is just another managerial job for Grayson.
“First and foremost it’s about my professional job that I do and I want to be a successful manager. I just want to do the best job I can no matter what club I am at but while I am at Leeds United, for what I hope will be many more years to come I want to try and achieve something," he said.
"It will be extra special if I can get this club back into the Premier League.”
Grayson took over at Leeds in the midst of uproar from his former club Blackpool due to the manner in which he left the seaside club.
Since parting ways, both parties have enjoyed huge success with Blackpool achieving promotion to the Premier League last season. Grayson has been very impressed with their progress.
“They have done very well. I think everybody expected them to get relegated this year so they have gone out with a carefree attitude. Some of the football that they play is unbelievable.
“They have a fantastic fanbase and Ian [Holloway] has done a great job there. They are looking to try and stay up and if they do that given the size of the club, budget and facilities it would be an unbelievable achievement.”
This season, Grayson will be looking to mirror the efforts of Blackpool and gain promotion to Premier League via the play-offs. There is sense that Leeds have a self righteous need to be in the Premier League, but Grayson isn’t banking on a return to the top flight this year.
“If we don’t manage to achieve it this year hopefully somewhere down the line Leeds United will get to the Premier League. The facilities, the fanbase and the size of the club mean we deserve to be.”
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By Killian Woodscomments