STEVE Thompson has backed his old mate Simon Grayson to bounce back stronger after being axed by Leeds.
Grayson and Thompson, along with Tony Parkes, kickstarted the Seasiders’ rise up the leagues.
Grayson quit in December 2008 to take his “dream job” at Elland Road, but was sacked yesterday – despite Leeds sitting just three points behind Pool and a play-off spot.
“It seems such a kneejerk reaction,” said Pool assistant boss Thompson.
“When we played Coventry the other night, a club bottom of the division, their fans were singing for their manager, getting behind him.
“Simon is three points away and he gets the bullet.
It is an absolutely crazy industry at the moment.
“I am gutted for him, because I’ve got a lot to thank the bloke for
“We played together at Leicester and outside of football we are still good mates.
“I was in charge of the youth team and centre of excellence at Blackpool when he was manager, and he promoted me to first team coach.
“It started me off at the club, and for me it’s gone from there.
“I sent him a text yesterday when I heard the news, and I’ll phone him today – but he deserved better.
“He had done a fantastic job there on a shoestring.
“Has he been backed in the transfer window? They haven’t made many big signings and they have sold three or four decent players, so it was a very tough situation for him to be in.
“They are getting crowds of 20 or 30,000, so you’d think he’d get a little more backing in the transfer market.
“With the Leeds chairman Ken Bates you sometimes don’t know what you are dealing with.
“But the one thing about Simon is that he will bounce back.
“He has done more than enough at Blackpool and at Leeds for some big clubs to take an interest and come after him.
“He will have time to recharge his batteries, reflect on what he did right and wrong, and I’ve no doubts he will bounce back a stronger and better manager.”
While Grayson comes to terms with getting the sack, Thompson and Ian Holloway turn their attention to Saturday’s trip to third-placed Cardiff.
It’s tough game, says the Seasiders assistant, but Pool go there with bags of confidence after an unbeaten January, and with the best set of players they’ve had in a long time.
Thompson said: “The gaffer and I sat down to talk the other day.
“He said this is the best squad he has worked with, and same goes for me. Everyone is fighting for places, everyone is fit.
“The quality we have at the club is so high and we’ve so many choices – it will probably be different teams for different games.
“We like to play our football, but against the big strong teams we might have to get a little bit of presence in there – and for the first time, if you look at the squad now, we can do that.
“We have no concerns about picking anyone in the squad as they are all excellent players, and they are all capable of playing our system.
“So although Cardiff are flying high in the league, in the final of the Carling Cup, and a good record at home, we go into the game with nothing to fear.
“We have so many options, we are on a good run of form, and we’re excited about what we might be able to achieve for the rest of the season.”