Former Scotland international Stephen Crainey has been named permanent head coach after he was promoted from within the club’s Academy after a four-month period in interim charge.
While he may be new to coaching, his playing career spanned just under two decades. Crainey, a left-back by trade, began both his youth and professional career at Celtic in his home country of Scotland.
The Glasgow native spent seven seasons with Celtic (1997-2004), helping the club win one Scottish League Cup, as well as the 2001/02 Scottish Premier League title. He would later move to Southampton in 2004, before quickly making another move to Leeds United (2004-07). He would go on to spend the majority of his professional games with Blackpool (2007-13), appearing in more than 200 games for the Seasiders, and scored four league goals in his time with the club. Over the final three years of his playing career, Crainey played for Wigan Athletic (2013-14), Fleetwood Town (2014-15) and AFC Fylde (2015-16).
On the international level, Crainey played with the Scottish Men’s National Team from 2002-11, including an appearance for the team in a 2004 UEFA Euro qualifying group game.
Head Coach Stephen Crainey spoke to the media ahead of Saturday’s match:
On facing Doncaster Rovers…
“It’s a big game. Both sides will be going into it wanting to win, and it will be a tough one as Doncaster [Rovers] are at home. We’ve watched their last few games, and they’ve got some good players in their team, but so have we. Every game in League One is going to be tough, but we are going into the game with the belief that we can win.
“We’ll be doing everything we can to stay in this division. The application from the group since the day I took charge has bene spot-on, and I’m sure that if they maintain, then we will stay in the league for next season. We’ve worked with the lads from the beginning of my interim charge, and they are starting to implement that into recent games, which is pleasing for me.”
On the reunion with Rovers manager Gary McSheffrey…
“I’ve played against Gary [McSheffrey] in my career a few times. So, it will be nice to see him and see how he’s enjoying his role there. I’m sure he’s enjoying it, and he will be looking to win the game, just as we are looking to win as well. It will be a good encounter, and one that we are looking to come on top of.”
On the team’s injuries and COVID concerns…
“In terms of injuries and COVID, we still have 10 players missing, but we feel prepared for the Doncaster [Rovers] game. We’ve got some good work into the lads earlier on in the week – with some tactical work this afternoon. So, we are ready for the clash at the weekend.
“It’s tough, but you have to go with the players who are available and fit. That’s what we are doing leading into the Doncaster [Rovers] game. We’ve had some good time for preparation. We know it’s going to be a tough game, as they will be scrapping for a point – much like ourselves, but we’re hoping to come out on top at the weekend.”