Graham Westley insists he doesn’t regret taking the manager’s job at Preston North End.
Current Posh boss Westley left a League One promotion campaign with Stevenage in January 2012 to take charge of a club struggling in the lower reaches of that division.
Thirteen months later, and 24 hours after a 3-1 defeat at Yeovil meant Preston had won just twice in four months, he was out of work.
Preston were five points clear of the relegation zone at the time, but Westley insisted that the owners had lost their nerve as he was still trying to re-build a squad that had numerous ageing, well-paid players when he took over.
But time has eased Westley’s pain. He said, ahead of his first meeting with Preston since his appointment as Posh boss, this Saturday (January 9): “I don’t regret taking the Preston job for one minute.
“I wanted to take my chances at a bigger club than Stevenage, and I was excited to get the opportunity to manage a club with so much rich history and tradition.
“And I loved every minute of it, even though it ended in a disappointing fashion.
“It was a challenge to re-build such a big club, but it was one I relished.
“There was some pain - there had to be - but in the end the owners wanted to make a change.
“I still believe I laid some solid foundations there.
“I didn’t do such a bad job and Preston are now reaping the rewards by winning promotion to the Championship and by performing well there.
“I don’t want this FA Cup tie to be about me though.
“No individual and no team will ever be bigger than the FA Cup.”
Westley is wary of the threat to Posh FA Cup ambitions that in-form Preston present.
After all he signed one of the main Preston dangermen.
“I signed Joe Garner for Preston and he’s done well there,” Westley added.
“He’s an entertaining player - he certainly keeps referees entertained - and he’s a goal threat.
“I am obviously aware of him and other dangers Preston possess, but my focus is on the form of Conor Washington and Erhun Oztumer.
“Preston are in pretty decent form in a very tough Championship, but we are not doing so badly ourselves.
“It’s a game I want to win badly, but only because I want to see my team in the fourth round draw.”
Preston North End won just 16 and lost 23 of their 62 League One matches under the management of Graham Westley.
That’s a win percentage of just 25.8 and it’s the only blot on Westley’s managerial career.
He won 221 of his 480 matches in his three spells in charge of Stevenage which is a win percentage of 46.01 (his win percentage in his second spell was over 52).
So far at Posh Westley has won 12 of his 19 matches as manager and lost just five.
That’s a win percentage of 63. Only legendary manager of the 1960s Jimmy Hagan has a better win percentage.
Darren Ferguson’s win percentage was over 57 in his first spell at the club which included many League Two matches.