I was left doing the ‘dirty work’ at Preston, says Westley

Graham Westley on his return to Boro as Preston manager last season. Photo: Danny Loo

Graham Westley on his return to Boro as Preston manager last season. Photo: Danny Loo - Credit: Archant

Stevenage manager says there will be PNE fans who recognise the good work he did at Deepdale, and fans who despise him

Graham Westley has revealed the extent of the difficulties he faced at old club Preston North End.

The Stevenage manager was sacked in February this year after 16 wins in 62 games and a troubled 13 months at Deepdale.

“It was real tough, from the minute I walked in the door I was met with confrontation after confrontation after confrontation,” said the 45 year old.

“I did my best to build relationships to get through that, but there were so many players there and so many difficult situations to handle that it was the dirty work I was doing, all the spade work.”

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Following a 15th place finish in his first campaign with Preston, Westley overhauled his squad on a limited budget, with only three of the same players remaining the following season.

It will be the first time he has returned to the club since he was relieved of his duties with the team five points clear of the League One relegation zone.

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“There will be people at that football club who will recognise the good work I did there,” said Westley.

“There will be people there who will want to point at difficult results at a time when I had probably seven front-line players out.

“You’ll get those that despise me because we lost some games when the squad was weak and tested and there will be those that understand that I took on a lot of very big battles on behalf of the football club.

“I paid a big media price because a lot of those people had a big profile, but in the end they are now benefitting from the fact that I knocked a few real difficult problems, problems that had taken care of four or five consecutive managers, I managed to knock those over and in the end I’m sure that football club will be stronger for the work I did.”

Westley points to a costly night at Deepdale on November 20 2012 when his Preston side drew 0-0 with Notts County, but suffered long-term injuries to both full backs, Scott Laird and Keith Keane.

“Time always proves you right or proves you wrong.

“I said when I was there, we were seven unbeaten, Laird and Keane got injured on the same night and it was difficult to recover from that blow.

“We weren’t strong enough in the squad I didn’t feel to cope with such big blows.

“I said just before I left that I needed to probably change four of the squad over and they of course have gone into the market in the summer, with some big money, and brought Hulme back, Davies in, Humphrey in, Clark in, made those four changes frankly in the positions that I suggested we needed to make changes in.

“When people look they will realise I wasn’t wrong when I was there, with that little bit of time with the three or four changes that needed to be made I’m sure Preston North End would be winning whether Graham Westley was there or Graham Westley wasn’t.”

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