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Alexander: This squad has great spirit

8 August 2014

Manager looks forward to League One bow against the Railwaymen

Graham Alexander has called on his squad to display the same spirit and fighting mentality that earned them their promotion to League One when they make their third tier bow this weekend.

Town welcome Crewe Alexandra to Highbury Stadium on Saturday for the Club’s first ever fixture at this level after securing their sixth promotion in ten years via the League Two Play-Offs back in May.

Steve Davis’ side returned to the third tier through the same route two years ago and will be aiming to avoid a second consecutive season of struggle after narrowly avoiding relegation last season.

The Cod Army’s manager, though, believes the squad’s experience of handling the big games, alongside how they performed against a number of League One sides, last season will stand them in good stead over the course of the upcoming campaign.

Speaking to the Club’s official website, Alexander said: “Once you get back into pre-season you can’t wait for that first game.

“I’m probably a little more relaxed than the players, the players are really excited about everything and they can’t wait to get to the games.

“We use this time to prepare the team the best we can to make sure we are as ready as we can be for the first game.

“We showed last season when we played League One teams, albeit on a one-off cup base, that we could definitely compete.

“Doing it week in week out during the grind of the league is the real test of a team and a player’s mentality.

“We will only tell, same as last season, a few months into the season whether we have really adapted to it or not.

“I have got every confidence in the players because I felt we were a very good team last year. We let ourselves down on occasions, but we always had a great spirit and mentality to come back and be successful in the end.

“The games that we played at the end of last season, having to win them, will stand us in good stead.

“They were big games the play-offs and there was a lot of pressure. The players handled that really well.”

Alexander has warned, though, that his side’s promotion winning performances last season ‘won’t win us any points’ this time around, but insists the players are already showing a determination to make their first season in League One a successful one.

Alexander added: “You don’t want to completely forget that feeling or lose it because it is a fantastic feeling to have that you done something successful, worked hard for it and got your reward for it.

“We have to realise that what we did last season won’t win us any points this season.

“It’s what we do day-to-day on the training pitch, it’s how we approach each game and that’s the only way that we will win games.

“We want them to be positive and confident and they have every right to be because of how well they did, but we don’t want to be carried away.

“I haven’t seen that from the players. They have come in really determined to get on with this year’s work.

“There are a few players that have not been at this level so they are all excited and ready to get started.”

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