Grant is ready to meet a familiar face on opening day

Bobby Grant and David Ball
Bobby Grant and David Ball
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Bobby Grant has warned former team-mate David Ball he won’t go easy on him when Town face Rotherham United on the opening day of the season.

Ball’s five-year, 49-goal stay at Highbury ended with a free transfer move to South Yorkshire following on from Rotherham’s relegation from the Championship and Town’s fourth-placed finish in League One.

Grant admitted he tried to get Ball, his room mate and car sharing colleague, to stay with the Cod Army.

He said: “I did my best to get him to stay to be honest, I spoke to the gaffer, I spoke to Bally himself.

“I was constantly in talks when we travelled away; he was in my car school, we just felt for him and his family it was the best decision for him to move on.

“I think he has done it in the right way, I think he will be very nervous to come back and play at Fleetwood on the first game of the season,

“I think the fans will give him a good reception, he has done well for the club and he left in the right manner.

“He didn’t cause any problems and we all just wish him all the best.

“He knows that when you are on the pitch, friendships go out of the window but I have to do a job for Fleetwood and he has to do one for Rotherham.

“I have already warned him that there is a good chance I could be getting stuck into him on the first game!”

Ball’s return will hog the headlines come the start of August and Grant is anticipating a tough opening day clash.

However, he is confident Town can get a result if they take on board the messages from head coach Uwe Rosler and build on last season’s home form which brought only three league defeats.

He said: “It will be a tough game, it always is; they (Rotherham) have come down from the Championship.

“But you know we will work hard in pre-season, we will listen to what the manager and the staff have to say, we will take all of pre-season on board.

“We are at home, we can’t forget that; our home record last year was very good and we will be looking to do the same next season.”

Grant has acted swiftly to secure a new car sharing buddy by striking up a friendship with new arrival Conor McAleny.

The striker, who netted 10 times in 14 loan appearances for Oxford United in League One last season, joined the club on a free transfer from Everton.

The two Liverpudlians have struck up a friendship, having trained together with Markus Schwabl and Harvey Rodgers last week ahead today’s return to pre-season training.

“Conor is a very exciting player and a very good addition to our squad,” Grant said.

“We travel in together and he is part of my car school. I haven’t told Bally yet!

“Hopefully me and the other lads can supply Conor because we know he can put the ball in the net.”