'Sunderland will think they’re far too big for League One': Simon Grayson's pre-match message to Fleetwood Town squad
Fleetwood boss Simon Grayson says his side will have respect for Sunderland this weekend – but insists no one has a divine right to win promotion.
Grayson managed the Black Cats in 2017 but was sacked after just 18 games on Wearside.
The 51-year-old was appointed Fleetwood boss in January, following spells with Blackpool and Bradford, replacing Joey Barton at Highbury.
Fleetwood sit 17th in the League One table ahead of their meeting with Sunderland, but did win 4-2 at Rotherham last time out.
Lee Johnson’s side remained top of the table following a 2-1 win over Accrington Stanley, yet Grayson believes his side will be able to match the Black Cats.
“I don’t focus on the league table, nor do I read it at this point and I’m not interested in what other teams do,” said Grayson when asked about Sunderland.
“Our main focus is how we’re doing; allegedly Sunderland are top of the table but we have to make sure we embrace these games.
“Not many teams enjoy coming to Highbury, they will look at us and see we’re on a decent run of form and have some quality players.
"We do have to respect Sunderland though, they will think they’re far too big for the division and will think they have been here for far too long, no one has a divine right to get out of the division, you have to earn it.”
Fleetwood came from 2-1 down to beat Rotherham and Grayson was pleased with the attacking qualities his side showed.
“We’re on a run of positivity and we need to take advantage of it,” he added. “If you look back to last Saturday’s result our players weren’t prepared to just see the game out, but we were ruthless and went to get the next goal.”
“In an ideal situation you go in-front in games and that’s the way it stays, but the character we have in our squad shows that we do emphasise that we can go out and capitalise on it - our players spoke between themselves in the dressing room, and it always makes my job a lot easier.”