Fleetwood Town made the move from League Two look easy, with three wins from their first three games. The rise of the former minnows has been remarkable and they weren’t far off a play-off push last season, but three defeats in their final five games and a lack of goals thwarted their chances. But the chairman is once again backing his manager and this season could be a very exciting one if you’re a Fleetwood fan.
Last Season: League One (10th)
Manager: Graham Alexander
GKs: Brendan Moore, Chris Maxwell
DFs: Conor McLaughlin, Danny Andrew, Nathan Pond, Stephen Jordan, Max Cartwright, Amari’i Bell
MFs: Antoni Sarcevic, Tyler Hornby-Forbes, Keith Southern, Nick Haughton, Keano Deacon, Akil Wright, Jimmy Ryan, Eggert Jonsson, Lyle Della-Verde
FWs: Jamille Matt, Declan McManus, Jamie Proctor, Ashley Hunter, Jack Sowerby, Vamara Sanogo, Bobby Grant
In: Amari’i Bell (Birmingham City), Eddie Dsane (Preston North End), Declan McManus (Aberdeen), Jimmy Ryan (Chesterfield), Vamara Sanogo (Metz), Eggert Johnsson (Vestsjaelland), Lyle Della-Verde (Fulham), Bobby Grant (Blackpool)
Out: David Ball (Released), Stephen Crainey (Released), Scott Davies (Tranmere), Tom Davies (Accrington Stanley), Liam Hogan (Tramere), Jeff Hughes (Cambridge United), Matty Hughes (AFC Fylde), Stewart Murdoch (Ross County), Adam Nditi (Released), Mark Roberts (Cambridge United), Steven Schumacher (Stevenage), Mason Springthorpe (AFC Telford), Andre Street (Released), Richard Wright (Released), Josh Green (Released), Joe Burgess (Released), Gareth Evans (Released)
First Six: Southend United (H), Oldham Athletic (A), Bury (A), Colchester United (H), Doncaster Rovers (A), Rochdale (H)
Likely Lineup: (4-3-3) Maxwell – McLaughlin, Pond, Jordan, Bell – Sarcevic, Southern, Jonsson – Ryan, Proctor, Grant
A word from…Jamie Milligan
On the revolution When I got the chance to go to Fleetwood I could have gone and played at a much higher level but the chairman sold it to me. He told me straight what he wanted to do and where he wanted to go and I was confident he was true to his word.
He’s built on that and built on it and done what he has promised so fair play to him because without the chairman the club wouldn’t be where they are now.
Everyone can say Fleetwood had the money but the chairman was giving money to the right players, not just anybody. He’d do his homework on players and make sure the right players were coming in.
On the mentality We always had the right people in the dressing room, we always had a good dressing room and that was down to the recruitment from the chairman and the staff.
You’ve got to have a mix of characters and those experienced players, everyone always got on with each other and that was massive for us. The manager got a good team together and I think over the course of the season that can you 10-15 points just because everyone’s clicked.
On his bond with the club Definitely, I think except Pondy (Nathan Pond) he’s the only one who’s been there since the beginning almost. I always had a good relationship with the fans, I went up to see the chairman a few weeks ago and the training ground and the facilities look fantastic, I’m chuffed with where they are at the moment.
On the future For their first season in that league I thought Graham Alexander did brilliant. They were so close to the play-offs and only just missed out but if you come in the top ten in your first season you’ve done well.
I worked with the manager one year and even though I got let go I always got on with him and had a good relationship with him. Look at the appearances he made as a player, he knows those leagues as well as anyone. I think the chairman is looking at a different route now and going down the development side and the youth side with the new facilities they’ve got.
You need a good mix, you need players who have been there and done it but they’re bringing through youth players too and I’m sure that will continue in the next few years. I still go to games when I can and I still follow the results when I can.
The Offside Rule Podcast Prediction: Like several others in the league, Fleetwood has endured a big turnaround in playing staff this summer and they’ve lost some key players back from the back end of last season. One or two more faces may change their chances but play-offs look beyond them at this stage.
Key Player: Jamie Proctor – At just 22, Proctor had a decent first season at the club and made himself a key man in the lineup. With the service coming from former Chesterfield man Jimmy Ryan this year and Proctor a year more experienced, it could be a big season for him.
One to Watch: Tyler Hornby-Forbes – Despite his teenage years, Hornby-Forbes hit double figures in league appearances last season and has the positive trait of being able to play either midfield or at right-back. At 19, he’s plenty of time to improve and should get more game time this season.