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Town Insider - Accrington

20 November 2012

Fleetwood Town welcome their nearest neighbours geographically when Accrington Stanley visit Highbury on Tuesday evening.

By David Mitchell

Fleetwood Town welcome their nearest neighbours geographically when Accrington Stanley visit Highbury on Tuesday evening.

The fixture will revive memories of Northern Premier League meetings in the early 1990’s with the most recent game being at the Crown Ground in the Lancashire Cup in January 2004. Town have lost just one out of their last 11 league games and moved back up to fourth in the league with the 3-0 victory over Plymouth on Saturday. Indeed, another three points against Stanley could take Micky Mellon’s side to second, their highest league position. Town’s manager is relishing ‘another big night under the Highbury floodlights’: ‘A local derby is always a game to look forward to.  Accrington will be a tough challenge but we’ll certainly have a game of football as they’ll aim to play the right way.  We’re in a real good position at the moment and just want to carry on winning.  Although we’re aware of what victory could bring in terms of league position it won’t alter our approach in any way because all we can do is concentrate on our own result.’ ‘We’ve worked hard this morning (Monday) in training and had some good input from the players.  There are no injury worries from Saturday’s game but Steven Gillespie and Jon Parkin will miss out again and Alex Marrow is ill so unlikely to be available,’ In addition, two of Town’s former Stanley players, Anthony Barry and Andy Mangan, will continue to be missing as they recover from surgery. Accrington currently occupy 17th position in the npower League 2 with three wins away from home,   their last success being at Wimbledon on 29th September.  There has been just one win out of their last eight matches in the league. An interesting addition to the club has been the arrival of former England striker, James Beattie, as player-coach earlier in the month. Beattie began his career down the road at Blackburn Rovers and his capture is hailed by Stanley’s Chief Executive, Rob Heys, as ‘the biggest in the club’s history.’ Beattie will assist new manager, Leam Richardson, to oversee a young squad, average age just over 21. Richardson has also been in post for less than a month having served as Paul Cook’s assistant during Cook’s eight month reign.  Two managerial changes in less than a year have followed the departure of John Coleman, the club’s longest serving manager, to Rochdale. Mellon is aware of what the new manager can bring to the club: ‘I know Leam well.  He’s a really good guy and a true football person.  He’ll be looking to grasp the opportunity he’s been given and have them playing good football over the coming weeks.’ Richardson’s team picked up a point with a 1-1 draw at Barnet on Friday evening.  Benin international, Romuald Boco, gave his side a lead with his 6th of the season on his 100th game for the club.  He stands one behind top scorer, Padraig Amond. Richardson gave his feelings ahead of the derby in an interview with the club’s website: ‘Fleetwood are going really well and Micky is doing a terrific job.  It's no secret that they have a good squad and they are going to be a threat in this division.  It's up to us to go there and try to match them with everything we've got and hopefully we can play some good football and get a positive result.  It's the first time we've played them in the Football League but that'll have no bearing whatsoever.’ ‘This is similar to our game at Barnet in that it shows the quality of player in League Two. It can only be good for spectators and the players on the pitch,  often young lads, who get the chance to play with the likes of a James Beattie or a Barry Ferguson.  It's fantastic for League Two and it shows how humble these experienced pros are and how much they just want to play the game for the love of it. We've been aware of what's been happening at Fleetwood for a few years and we've watched them get the backing and seen them rise. They're able to attract real quality players and it's no surprise that they are challenging at the top.’ A familiar face in the squad is defender Rob Atkinson who joined from Town on a month’s emergency loan in September and who has since had his period extended. The 25 year-old has made 11 appearances so far but is ineligible for Tuesday’s game.   Beattie played for 11 minutes after coming off the bench and is likely to be among the substitutes again due to lack of match fitness.  One absentee will be Piero Mingoia, the midfielder on loan from Watford, who is injured.

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