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Match Previews


21 September 2012

A look ahead to tomorrow's game

This weekend Bristol Rovers entertain Fleetwood Town’s ‘Cod Army’ for the every first meeting between the two clubs.

Currently sitting in fourth spot in the table on 13 points, the Lancashire team have got off to a grand start to the season.

Mark McGhee noted, “I know they have come up and had some positive results, and a couple of disappointments as well, maybe the reality would have set in last week as to how difficult a division this is.

"I believe they are ambitious and as a team who have come up they will have no fears and go out to enjoy themselves and we are going to have to be ready for their enthusiasm if nothing else.

"They also have players who have experience at this level and above, so we have to be on our guard.”

Fleetwood’s Manager and former Bristol City player Micky Mellon believes his team were made to pay for their Football League inexperience by Port Vale on Tuesday. His team had won four games in a row before losing 5-2 at home to Vale.

He said: "We knew we would come up against sides that were more streetwise than us and made better decisions. I don't want to stand here and say we haven't come up against a very good side, who punished us for everything that we didn't get right.

"We always knew that we were a work in progress. We never thought that we were the finished product by a long way. We'll let the dust settle, learn from what's happened and go through where we think we could have done better.

"Their two wide players and front two caused us untold problems and I don't think we dealt with that threat for most of the evening. But we created a lot of good opportunities and I think we could have had a bit of a cricket score at one stage."

Fleetwood’s history dates back to 1908 but they have folded twice in that time. The first time this happened was in 1976 because of financial difficulties.

The club was re-established in 1977 as Fleetwood Town F.C., with many of the original personnel. They lasted just 19 year before they re-formed in 1997 as Fleetwood Wanderers (renamed Fleetwood Town FC in 2002).

The club gradually rose up through the football non-League pyramid and in the 2010–11 season the club made all of its players full-time professionals.

The club spent most of the season in or near the play-off positions, eventually qualifying by finishing in fifth place. In the play-off semi-finals, against AFC Wimbledon, a new attendance record of 4,112 was set in the home leg, but Fleetwood lost both games with an 8–1 aggregate scoreline.

Fleetwood's 2011–12 season was their most successful ever. In the FA Cup they reached the Third Round for the first time.

After beating Mansfield Town, Wycombe Wanderers, and Yeovil Town, they were drawn at home to local rivals Blackpool, but lost 5–1 to the Championship club, with Jamie Vardy scoring Fleetwood's only goal.

In the league Fleetwood went on a 29-game unbeaten run, and were declared champions with two games remaining, giving them promotion to the Football League for the first time.

They have hit the ground running this season, with four wins and a draw and have already twice hit four goals in victories over Morecambe (away) and Aldershot.

Lee Fowler Fleetwood’s Welsh midfielder has expressed his feeling that his team are excpecting to face an increasing strong physical approach as the season progresses.

He said: "I think in this league all the teams are physical and everything's going to be a battle, but if we play our game Fleetwood's way then I don't think anyone can cope with us.

"If teams want to battle against us then we'll battle, but we are a footballing team who can battle. If they want to get physical then there's lads in our team who can match up to the physical aspect of it."

Having performed much more to the level expected by Mark McGhee in the second half of the Plymouth game on Tuesday Rovers will be hoping that they can produce their first three point return of the season this weekend.

Written by Gerry Prewett.

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