Manager's thoughts ahead of round one against York City
Graham Alexander is encouraging his Fleetwood Town side to express themselves on a ‘great occasion for the club’ ahead of their play-off semi-final encounter with York City.
Fleetwood travel to Bootham Crescent for the away leg on Saturday before returning to Highbury Stadium on Friday May 16 in a play-off double header that has the prize of a Wembley final waiting at the end of it.
The Ministermen have been a revelation since the turn of the year – transforming from a side battling at the opposite end of the table to one chasing promotion – and ahead of Saturday’s clash, Fleetwood’s manager insists his players know what is required to achieve a first leg advantage.
Speaking to the club’s official website: “It’s a great occasion for the club and it’s great challenge for us because it will be two tough games against York.
“The boys are in a really good place at the moment, they are positive about it, they know what’s on offer and I think they know what is needed to achieve that price.
“We have to go into Saturday confident, we have been to York this season and won, it was a tough game for us so we look forward to competing at the same level and getting the same result.
“They been on a great run, they will be feeling good about themselves, but we have been on a particularly good run as well.
“Hopefully we play to our maximum because whenever we do that, we always pick up results.
“We want to enjoy it, but I only believe you enjoy it when you win.
“For professionals it is about the end result, it’s not just about going in and enjoying yourself, but I believe our team, when they enjoy themselves and express themselves, we play better football.
“We have to do the dirty work of being disciplined – getting in shape and doing the basics of football – but then you have to give the lads the freedom to express themselves.
“We have a lot of ability within our team and you have to let them off the lead when it comes to games.
“We give the players a lot of responsibility because you can’t play the game for them and if we do that, and the players respond to that, then I think we will do well.”
York confirmed that the whole home allocation for the first leg has sold out, whilst Fleetwood supporters will also converge on Bootham Crescent in their numbers to support the Cod Army.
“Not only the players respond to these occasions, it’s the supporters as well," he continued.
“They have followed us all over right through the winter, made all the long journeys and got back early in the morning and they deserve occasions like this.
“Hopefully we can take them to the end where we want to be and give them promotion to League 1.
“There is a lot of people who put a lot of hard work into the club, a lot of loyal supporters, a lot of loyal workers and staff members and the team are the face of that.
“We need to step up to that responsibility and give them something to cheer about.”