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This time Dons columnist Dominic Damesick looks forward to facing a Preston side without Graham Westley in charge.
My first game writing for the Citizen was a preview of the away game at Preston. I wrote a few derogatory remarks about Graham Westley, some Preston fans got angry, it nearly turned nasty. I wonder if they still hate me now.
Tomorrow I will be covering the Preston game for the Citizen, and so it really feels like everything has come full circle: how beautifully poetic. Except the reverse tie was a dire 0-0 draw, and tomorrow’s game has all the makings of another disappointing afternoon. Poetry is meant to be morose, right?
My old friend Westley was relieved of his position recently, and has been replaced by Simon Grayson, who will surely improve on the 18th place Preston are currently languishing in – a dire underachievement considering some of the quality within their ranks. Nicky Wroe, Stuart Beavon and John Mousinho are very good players at this level, and Westley really should have been able to get more out of his charges.
There has been lots of talk recently of Karl Robinson lacking a ‘Plan B’, and I wonder what Westley’s was – ‘Plan A’ being to lock his players in the dressing room for hours on end. Maybe Preston sacked him before daring to find out. For the record, I predict it would have involved bloodshed.
So, tomorrow, Grayson’s Preston roll into town. Unfortunately, this means that rather than having to face a dysfunctional side, wearily anticipating another verbal assault from their manager, the Dons are faced with a rejuvenated Preston; one that has impressed in its previous two outings, beating Bournemouth and drawing with Swindon respectively.
Speaking of Swindon, Paulo Di Canio is another manager to have moved on recently. Some say it is sad to see the characters going out of the game. Personally, I can take or leave those who can only thrive with irresponsibly large playing budgets.
Robinson could perhaps do with a bit more instability at times. He has fallen into a very stable, predictable routine of excuses for his side’s recent failure to win: the winless tally now stands at seven games. I will get the chance to attend Mr Robinson’s post-match press conference tomorrow, and hope to hear some fresh insights. Fans tend to be quite forgiving if managers are frank with them, and Karl’s greatest strength in adversity could be some harsh truths and honest reflections.