Stephen Crainey hopes to get Fleetwood Town smiling again

Positivity was the key to Stephen Crainey’s first training session as Fleetwood Town’s interim head coach as he seeks to halt their winless run away to AFC Wimbledon on Saturday..

Thursday, 25th November 2021, 6:14 pm

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Fleetwood Town place Stephen Crainey in temporary change after Simon Grayson's e...

Seven defeats in their last eight cost Simon Grayson his job on Wednesday, though temporary replacement Crainey could lift Town out of the relegation zone with victory in the South-East.

The 40-year-old stepped up from his role as Under-23s chief to take charge of senior training for the first time yesterday.

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Stephen Crainey had a season as a player at Fleetwood Town in 2014/15

And he admits the task was made easier by the presence of several young players he brought through the Academy ranks.

Crainey told The Gazette: “Yes, there are four or five in the mix who I’ve worked with for two or three years. That will make it easier but the sole focus is on the weekend and trying to get three points against Wimbledon.”

As for the that first session in charge, the former Scotland full-back said: “It’s been really productive and very positive. We’ve tried to get some detail into the lads ahead of the game. We look forward to it and the aim is to try to get three points.

“Obviously we have been on a run of defeats but we hope to change that on Saturday, and hopefully with the detail we have put into the players we can get a result at Wimbledon.

“There have been a lot mistakes (defensively) but on the flipside we want to be a threat going forward and we hope get that balance between attack and defence right.

“It was nice and bright in training. It’s about keeping a smile on your face, enjoying working hard and hopefully we can continue that moving forward while I’m still in charge.”

As for how long that will be, Crainey was non-commital when asked if he would like to take the job on a long-term basis.

Chairman Andy Pilley is not averse to promoting from within and gave Simon Wiles an opportunity to prove himself in January before turning to Grayson.

Crainey added: “I don’t know what the chairman is thinking and I’ll just take it day by day until he tells me different. I was surprised to get the call to take interim charge and it’s something I’m going to do.

“I’m not looking that far ahead and the chairman may have someone in mind, I don’t know.

“My role was to be in charge of the under-23s and I have a real passion for that. If the chairman wants someone else, I’ll go back to that role.”

Former Blackpool favourite Crainey ended his league playing career with a season at Highbury (2014-15), joining their coaching team four years ago.

For now his focus is only on this weekend's trip to the capital.

He said: “Of course it has to turn around. I’m confident in the squad we have, and that we can get them playing in the right way and moving forward.

“We have good players in the group, who work hard, and hopefully there’s light at the end of the tunnel, starting on Saturday.

“While I’m in charge I want to go into every game trying to get all three points.”

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