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IN OPPOSITION: FLEETWOOD TOWN

14 June 2016

Fleetwood Town survived the threat of relegation back into League Two last season at the expense of fellow Fylde Coast club, Blackpool.

The Cod Army finished just five points above the drop zone, with the likes of Oldham Athletic, Chesterfield and Shrewsbury Town breathing a collective sigh of relief also. It wasn't the greatest start to what turned out to be a difficult season and manager Graham Alexander, now at Scunthorpe United, only lasted until 30th September before his dismissal.

After four games, Town had achieved seven points and had recorded wins against Bury and Colchester United, but a run of six without a win, including a 5-1 defeat at Gillingham, meant that Alexander was to be relieved of his duties. After a week with former Huddersfield Town defender Chris Lucketti in temporary charge, Steve Pressley was appointed and his first game was against former employers Coventry City.

The Cod Army suffered a narrow defeat to The Sky Blues but they went on to win four of their next seven fixtures, including heavy victories against Burton Albion and Swindon Town. Although the club reached the area final of the Johnstone's Paint Trophy, their safety was only confirmed with two games to go and despite defeat at Walsall, results elsewhere meant they were already mathematically safe from the drop. 

AT THE HELM: STEVEN PRESSLEY


Remembered by most Bradford City fans for publically criticising the club's style of play under Phil Parkinson, the former Coventry City manager is preparing for his first full season in charge at Fleetwood Town. After managing to guide the club to safety and another season in the third tier, the Scot will be hoping to build on that this coming campaign.

Still only 42 years old, Pressley will still be considered as a young manager with the Elgin born former central defender taking up his first managerial post with Falkirk in 2010. After three years in charge of The Bairns, Pressley took over at Coventry City and will be credited for bringing through talented forward Callum Wilson, who is now at AFC Bournemouth in the Premier League. He formed a strong partnership with Leon Clarke under Pressley's management.

Pressley began his playing career with Rangers in 1990 and after four years at Ibrox, he signed for Coventry City in 1994. He returned to Scotland nine months later and signed for Dundee United before going on to have spells with Hearts, Celtic, Falkirk and Danish side Randers.

DANGER MEN


Town have some summer re-building to do following the release of 14 players including Welsh goalkeeper Chris Maxwell (subsequently joined Preston North End) and Antoni Sarcevic, the man who scored the winning goal in the League Two Play-Off final a couple of years ago, to earn the club promotion into the third tier.

21 year old attacking midfielder Nick Haughton is a talented young footballer and he will be looking to play more of a part this coming season; he made 24 appearances in all competitions last season and he will be hoping
Steven Pressley sees him as a potentially key player this coming campaign.

Bobby Grant made just 25 starts in the league last season and featured a further 13 times off the bench, but despite that he still managed to score
10 goals - a very admirable return from a player playing in midfield for a team that finished 19th in the league.

HEAD TO HEAD


With Fleetwood only emerging into the Football League in recent seasons, the two clubs have met on just six occasions.

Bradford City very much have the upper hand and haven't in fact been beaten by their counterparts. The first meeting came in August 2012 and it finished in a narrow 1-0 victory for The Bantams at Valley Parade with Gary Jones' superb free kick proving decisive.

City have won three times with the other three games resulting in draws and one of those draws came last season at Highbury. Jimmy Ryan's free kick got caught in the wind and got the better of Ben Williams to hand the hosts the lead before James Hanson's header levelled the scores.

The Bantams have won just once in three attempts at Highbury, and the win came on Boxing Day 2014; a header from James Hanson and a decisive goal from Filipe Morais ensured three points for Phil Parkinson's side.

THEIR OWN PATCH


Highbury

Fleetwood Town's rise has been rapid and parts of their history playing lower down the reaches of the footballing pyramid are still visible with parts of their ground still in place from years and promotions gone by.

The impressive Parkside stand at Highbury really is an eye catching one and it is imposing in comparison to the rest of the ground. The stand holds 2,000 people and all the main facilities and banqueting areas appear to be in this very stand. Away supporters are housed in the Percy Ronson Terrace adjacent to the Parkside stand, although in the past City fans have also had access to a couple of blocks of seating in the Parkside stand also.

Opposite the Parkside stand appears to be a clubhouse still in place stood next to the all seated Highbury stand which runs across roughly half the length of the playing surface. Finally behind the other goal is the home terrace, known as The Memorial Stand which houses approximately 1,500 supporters. 

5,311 (2,701 seats)Capacity:

FY7 6TXPostcode:

FANCY A FLUTTER?

Fleetwood appear to be outsiders according to Sky Bet and are priced at 9/1
to earn promotion from League One. The odds for The Cod Army to win the
League title are 28/1.

www.skybet.com 

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