Under-23s chief Crainey was put in temporary charge of the senior side when Grayson was dismissed on Wednesday and takes charge of his first game at AFC Wimbledon this afternoon.
As a player, Crainey joined the Blackpool side Grayson had steered up to the Championship in the summer of 2007. It was the first of Grayson’s four promotions as a League One boss.
Scotland international Crainey played under Grayson for 18 months at the start of a six-season stay at Bloomfield Road, which included Blackpool’s climb into the Premier League.
Grayson’s later spells on the Fylde coast have been less successful: a second stint with the Seasiders lasted only seven months and his Fleetwood reign was over within 10.
However, Crainey told The Gazette: “He will bounce back. Nobody likes to see anyone lose their job but it is part and parcel of football.
“He has had a long managerial career and will get back into the game when the time is right for him.
“It is disappointing to see Simon go but we need to take the club forward now and try to get three points at Wimbledon.”
Crainey (below) is not short of well-wishers, including a message from a fellow Scot and Blackpool favourite.
Charlie Adam tweeted: “Good luck Stephen Crainey in caretaker charge.”
Crainey was grateful and added: “Charlie is still a good friend and we speak regularly.”
A handful of the first-team squad at Fleetwood are already well known to Crainey as players he brought through the academy.
Another of those has returned to the club, with midfielder Barry Baggley completing his loan month at Altrincham.
The 19-year-old Northern Ireland youth international played three times for Altrincham, two in the National League, and scored on his debut against Solihull Moors.
Baggley made his Fleetwood debut in March 2019 and has made seven appearances.
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