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Simon Grayson claims he rejected return as Leeds manager this season

Preston boss Simon Grayson says Leeds wanted him to return this season.

Preston North End boss Simon Grayson has revealed to the Daily Mirror that he turned down the chance to return as Leeds United manager this season.

Grayson, 45, is currently managing League One side Preston, and watched on as his side painfully lost to Colchester United on the final day of the season, meaning they were pipped to automatic promotion by Milton Keynes Dons, resigning North End to the play-offs - a daunting task considering that the Lilywhites have the worst play-off record in English football history, with nine campaigns and no promotions.

After an 18-game unbeaten run was ended in heartbreaking fashion, Grayson now has to prepare his side to face Chesterfield on Thursday and Sunday in a bid to rescue their promotion bid.

Should Grayson fail that task, some Preston fans may want him to leave the club, despite his impressive season in League One this term.

Bizarrely, Grayson spoke to the Daily Mirror before the Colchester game, and admitted that he had talks over a return to Leeds United earlier this season - shocking timing from a Preston perspective.

"I was very successful at Leeds," said Grayson. "I left when we were a few points away from the play-offs to get into the Premier League."

"I got them back into the Championship. I'd love to go back to Leeds one day if it was the right time. I was offered the Leeds job earlier this year and it was 50-50 whether I went. My head was telling me one thing, my heart another."

"I am pleased I turned it down. If we go up, it will be strange to go back to Elland Road as I was a Leeds fan as a kid and I haven't been back since I left," he added.

Grayson not only started his playing career with Leeds, but then returned as the club's manager in 2008, leading them back to the Championship in 2010.

Another return to Leeds wouldn't be much of a surprise, and Neil Redfearn's questionable future at Elland Road could stoke further rumours of a move back to the club for Grayson - and his claims that Leeds wanted him earlier this season suggest that people within the Elland Road hierarchy would still be interested.

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