Club skipper Mark Roberts is openly optimistic ahead of Fleetwood Town’s weekend fixture versus Burton Albion at Highbury.
And, following two wins from two games in League Two, he has every right to be. “We always back ourselves and we have plenty of faith in our ability to go and get the win we want,” said Roberts.
Town are no strangers to Gary Rowett’s men after lining up against them twice last season. The first time they met, Fleetwood came out on top. Unfortunately, the second time round was a completely different story. A seemingly evenly matched game was turned on its head when Scott Davies was dismissed for denying a goal scoring opportunity. The Brewers made their extra man count against the ten men and put four goals past substitute goalkeeper David Lucas in just over half an hour. Roberts, however, is aware of the danger as he explained, “It will be a tough afternoon but we’re ready and raring to go.”
An unusual threat on Saturday will come from the Brewers’ latest addition, Rory Delap. He recently signed a one-year contract at the Pirelli Stadium, joining from Premier League side Stoke City. At 37 years of age, he’s still going strong. He found the back of the net on his Burton debut and is of course known notoriously for his long throw-ins. Town’s number five isn’t overly worried by Delap’s skill, saying “Yes, it’s a threat but I’m sure they have other weapons in their armoury ... It’s a famous long throw that everyone knows about but we’ll prepare for that as we do every other aspect of the game.”
The Cod Army now look to have the makings of a settled back line with evidence coming from their performance – and clean sheet - at Plymouth a week ago. The defensive restructure by Graham Alexander has proved successful and Roberts is at the heart of the change.
Despite this, he was unwilling to accept any praise at not conceding, stating “The clean sheet was a big bonus not just for me and not just for the back four but the whole team. After all, we defend as a team and attack as a team.”
He added on the win: “It was a professional performance ... and to come away with a 2-0 victory was just rewards for our efforts.”
The former Stevenage man also expects he and his teammates will be fully ready for Albion’s visit. “With no mid-week game this week, we’ve had plenty of time to put in some good ground work and hopefully you’ll see the best of us on Saturday.”
In his first and only competitive game at Highbury to date, Roberts netted with a thumping header from a fifth minute corner. Although a centre-half, he has attacking ambitions too. “The more goals the better... Me and Cressie [Ryan Cresswell] want to score goals and help the team in that respect.”
Nonetheless, he understands his priorities as both captain and a defender – “First and foremost, our [Roberts and Cresswell] job is to keep clean sheets, so if we keep a clean sheet then I don’t really mind who scores.”
The Highbury ticket office is open Friday until 5pm and from 9am until kick-off for ticket sales.