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Match Previews

League 1 Preview: Fleetwood Town

27 June 2015

A look at our first opponents of the season - Fleetwood Town.

It's our first game of the 2015-16 campaign, and it's fair to say it's a long one! All you need to know about Fleetwood Town.

Who are this lot then?
Fleetwood Town are relatively new in the Football League circuit, with the 2011-12 campaign being their first as part of the 92 after a series of promotions through the lower non-leagues. And it wasn't long until they took the next step into League 1, with a win in the 2013-14 play-offs, beating Burton Albion at Wembley Stadium 1-0, thanks to Antoni Sarcevic's free kick.

Did they get up to much last season?
Last season proved to be the club's highest ever finish, with it being their first campaign in League 1, finishing a very creditable 10th place. They defeated Sheffield United at Bramall Lane, and proved tough to beat at their own Higbury Stadium, earning draws against eventual champions Bristol City, play-off winners and local rivals Preston North End, Swindon Town and Sheffield United. Earlier this year, a new training ground complex was opened at Poolfoot Farm.

Who's the boss?
Graham Alexander (below) is the man in charge of things at Highbury Stadium, with his appointment as Fleetwood boss in 2012 his first full time role, after a short stint as caretaker at Preston North End. A versatile player during his days on the pitch rather than in the dugout, Coventry-born Alexander came through the Scunthorpe United youth ranks before going on to play over 150 times. He played a similar amount of games during four years at Luton Town before amassing 354 games for Preston. A switch to Burnley came in 2007 and during his four-year stay with the Clarets, he helped earn promotion to the Premier League. He returned to Preston for a season in 2011 and scored a goal with his very last touch as a professional footballer before hanging up the boots. He appeared 40 times for Scotland during his career and was a penalty expert.

Any stand out players?
Midfielder Jimmy Ryan (below in blue) is a recent signing, having been snapped up from Chesterfield on a free transfer. Ryan pulled the stings in a Spireites midfield that ended up in the play-offs last season, and Graham Alexander will be hoping the former Accrington Stanley and Scunthorpe United man can do similar for the Cod Army in 2015-16. Defender Conor McLaughlin is a Northern Ireland international, and Jamie Proctor is capable of scoring spectacular goals as well.

Any links?
Ryan Cresswell made the move from Southend to Fleetwood for an undisclosed fee a couple of years ago but would spend just a season with the Cod Army. The defender is now at Northampton Town.

What's the ground like?
Fleetwood's home since 1934, Highbury Stadium has had to be renovated following their promotions through the divisions. The ground now has a very tidy main stand, with the visiting Southend fans being housed behind one of the goals, a covered stand. The ground can hold just under 5,500 spectators.

How far away is the place?
A journey to Fleetwood is a 552-mile round trip for Blues fans leaving from Southend. At least we get the longest trip of the season out of the way early!

Any big name fans?
Professional darts player Wes Newton is a big fan of the Cod Army and regularly attends games watching the side play.

Good memories against them?
Southend United wins: 1
Draws: 3
Fleetwood Town wins: 0

We've only met each other four times in our history, winning once – a 2-0 home victory in 2013 – and drawing three times. Fleetwood have yet to register a win against the Blues – let's hope that continues for the next two league games!

What are the odds on that?
Fleetwood Town are priced at 15/2 with Sky Bet to earn promotion from Sky Bet League 1 in 2015-16.

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