Fleetwood’s rise through the leagues has been quite something. The club were only formed in 1997 and since Andy Piley took over as chairman, the Cod Army have won promotion from the North West Counties Premier League in 2005, Northern Premier First Division in 2006, Northern Premier League in 2008, Blue Square North in 2010 and Blue Square Premier in 2012! Last season was Fleetwood’s first as a Football League outfit.
Since taking over the club in December 2012, with his first game in charge of Fleetwood against Blues, Graham Alexander took on his first permanent managerial job. Alexander was caretaker manager at Preston North End after current Blues boss Phil Brown, was relieved of his duties. Alexander, a penalty specialist, has appeared in over 1,000 games during spells with Luton Town, Scunthorpe, Burnley and two spells at Preston. He also represented Scotland 40 times over a period of seven years.
The goalkeeping options for Graham Alexander’s side consist of Scott Davies and Chris Maxwell. Davies has been with the club since 2010 after signing from Morecambe, whereas Maxwell came through the Wrexham youth ranks before joining Fleetwood in the summer of 2012. In defence, former Crawley Town player Dean Howell will hope to have the left back spot, long serving centre back, Nathan Pond will be an option along with Conor McLoughlin, and the much travelled, Alan Goodall. New signing Steven Schumacher is likely to take his place in central midfield for the 2013/14 season, alongside veteran Damien Johnson. Junior Brown will also want to continue his progress after an excellent campaign last time around. The striking options are vast for Alexander with Jamille Matt, Steven Gillespie, former Cardiff City forward John Parkin, and ex-Peterborough United attacker David Ball.
New signing Jeff Hughes will look to stamp his impression on League 2 after joining from Notts County last month. The 28 year-old, who has formerly played for Bristol Rovers, Crystal Palace and Lincoln City, was a big player for Notts last season in League 1, playing 49 times for Chris Kiwomya’s side, as they finished the season in 12th place. Born in Northern Ireland, Hughes has represented his country on two occasions.
Fleetwood finished the campaign with 60 points, finishing just a solitary point behind Blues. It was a successful season for the Cod Army, who had to deal with the departure of Mickey Mellon after the Scot was sacked at the beginning of December, replaced by Graham Alexander later that same month. One highlight of the season was a 4-0 victory at local rivals, Morecambe as they finished the 2012/13 season with 15 league wins in their first ever campaign in the Football League.
Graham Alexander released a host of players as he looked to build on their mid-table season. Rob Atkinson, Anthony Barry, Kieran Charnock, Andy Mangan, Barry Nicholson, Jamie Milligan and Jamie McGuire were just some of the players that were let go. Incoming, Alexander moved swiftly to bring Steven Schumacher and Jeff Hughes from League 1 clubs, Schumacher joining for an undisclosed fee from Bury, whilst Hughes arrived on a free transfer. Matty Blair also signed on a free transfer after leaving York City.
BLUES vs. FLEETWOOD TOWN:
Home: Blues 1-1 Fleetwood Town
Barry Corr rescued a point for Blues after Fleetwood took an early 1-0 lead through Alan Goodall. Paul Smith saved a Gareth Evans penalty midway through the first half as Blues snatched a draw in Phil Brown’s first home game in charge of the Club.
Blues: Smith, Clohessy, Straker, Cresswell, Phillips, Hurst, Mohsni (Corr, 69), Mkandawire, Eastwood (Laird, 58), Assombalonga, Tomlin
Unused: Bentley, Spillane, Leonard, Lund, Njie
Away: Fleetwood Town 0-0 Blues
It was another point for both sides as Blues travelled to the north-west in Graham Alexander’s first game in charge of the Cod Army. Blues had two goals ruled out for offside.
Blues: Smith, Clohessy, Straker (Corr, 70), Cresswell, Prosser, Barker, Mkandawire, Hurst, Laird, Assombalonga (Eastwood, 82), Tomlin (Donnelly, 78)
Unused: Bentley, Coughlan, Woodyard, Benyon
Fleetwood Town are 2/1 to win promotion this coming season.