Fleetwood Town Preview – SkyBet League One

The Sky Blues travel north on Saturday with Highbury Stadium being the destination, awaiting Mowbray’s side will be a Fleetwood Town outfit who will be determined to halt a poor run. A familiar face will be in the home dugout as Steven Pressley makes his return to football management following his dismissal from the Ricoh Arena last season.

 

Highbury Stadium – home of the Cod Army.

 

After picking up a comfortable home win against Shrewsbury last weekend, City will be thriving for another set of maximum points to keep them in the top six. Away form has deserted them thus far however, and this encounter could prove to be another potential banana skin.

Form:

The home side go in to the game on the back of a 2-1 victory on home soil versus Shrewsbury Town in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy in midweek. With a new manager in place, the squad will be out to impress and they’ll be determined to build on that victory.

In the league, Fleetwood have failed to impress and they currently sit in 23rd position. With only 9 points on the board from their opening 11 games, there’s substantial concern amongst fans. In their last five league fixtures they’ve recorded 1 draw and 4 losses, it was this dismal run that put pay to Graham Alexander’s tenure.

Coventry City have enjoyed a contrasting start to the League One campaign and they subsequently sit in 5th place with 19 points to their name. Away form has been a serious issue however, only 2 wins have been picked up on the road and a penalty shootout defeat against Yeovil on Tuesday dumped the Sky Blues out of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy.

Some topsy-turvy form of late has seen Coventry fall a way behind Burton Albion who sit at the summit of the division. In their last 5 games, Mowbray has watched his side pick up 3 wins and 2 losses.

Team News:

Fleetwood will be without Conor McLaughlin and Declan McManus for the fixture as they are on International duty for Northern Ireland and Scotland Under 21’s respectively.

Steven Pressley will also have to contend with a few injuries as he looks to get off to a positive start. Nathan Pond is out with an ankle injury, Vamara Sanogo is also sidelined and Brendan Moore is still recovering from an ankle problem.

The Sky Blues could see Lee Burge return on Saturday as the goalkeeper has recovered from illness, Reice Charles-Cook has given the manager a selection headache however after impressing in the last two fixtures.

Jordan Willis and James Maddison remain long-term absentees whilst Bryn Morris, Ryan Kent and Adam Armstrong are all unavailable after being selected for the England youth setup.

One to watch – Bobby Grant

It’s hard to pick a man in-form when looking at a side who are sitting in the lower echelons of the third tier, but Bobby Grant has been a shining light in a horror opening for Fleetwood. The midfielder moved to Higbury Stadium in the summer following his release from Blackpool.

Moving from one rival club to another shows bravery, and this sums up the combative midfielder as a player. Not afraid of a tackle, Grant is a key figure in the Town side and his technical ability is solid too. He has scored 2 league goals in 9 appearances so far and he also notched in their cup success in midweek.

Mowbray’s view:

 

 

 

 

 

 

“I’m still searching for the right balance to win games away from home and that might be, moving forward, more experience in the forward areas.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“It’s a process you have to go through to find the formula to win both home and away. And we’re still working our way through that. But I’m sure we’ll find it and get there.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“I think we are just building the DNA of our team. You can’t do it in a month or two, you have to do it every day on the training pitch, day after day after day where they keep believing and people look forward to every game because they know how we’ll play and they’ll know what to expect, home and away.”

 

View from the opposition – Steven Pressley:

 

 

 

 

 

 

“The scenarios football throw up are often quite amazing. I’m really looking forward to Saturday as Coventry are very much a team in form.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“They picked up a terrific win against Shrewsbury at the weekend and seem to be playing with confidence at the moment.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 “They’re a very good team but haven’t been so good on their travels, so will be determined to put that right however we need to win and hopefully we can do that.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“We have nothing to fear though. If we maintain the belief and intensity levels shown in the second half on Tuesday then we can certainly win the game.”

 

My Thoughts…

Well, who would have thought we’d be up against a certain Scotsman at the weekend. In a game that you’d very much back the Sky Blues to win, this appointment could galvanise the home side and the task could potentially increase in difficulty for Mowbray.

At the end of the day though, we can’t get caught up in the situation and our focus will be entirely on getting three points, as it would have been regardless of who is stood in the dugout. On paper our squad is better than Fleetwood’s even with certain absentees, we’ve got to halt this winless run on the road.

I’m sure the atmosphere will be excellent as the Cod Army welcome their new gaffer, over 1000 members of the Sky Blue Army will also be situated in the away end hoping for victory – it proves to be a lively day in Fleetwood.

The performance against Shrewsbury at the Ricoh was dominant and if we produce that level again, we have no reason to lose this game. Our away form has been shaky to say the least but we’ve shown we are capable of winning games of football.

Coupling our free-flowing football with a dogged defensive display such as we showed at Burton will stand us in good stead. If Marc-Antione Fortune starts, I envision him having a huge influence and chances will come against a lacklustre defence – can we take our chances?

My score prediction:

Fleetwood Town 0-1 Coventry City

 

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