FLEETWOOD TOWN return to their bread and butter tonight for a home match against Barrow which chairman Andy Pilley bills as “more important to us than the Blackpool game in many ways”.
Town return to Blue Square Bet Premier action in a 7.45pm kick-off bidding for a victory which will avenge their shock 4-0 defeat by the Cumbrians in August and would send Town top if leaders Wrexham slip up at Tamworth.
For manager Micky Mellon, it’s an early opportunity to show what his side has learned from that unforgettable FA Cup tie against the Seasiders on Saturday, when Town lost 5-1 but won plenty of praise.
Moving on from that extra-special occasion, Mellon told The Gazette: “I see the whole experience as a positive and my players now know how good you have to be and how clinical you have to be to get to that level.
“It has been a massive learning curve, but I must stress that although Blackpool were superb, were properly professional, showed some incredible movement and finishing, and deserved to win, you would not have thought there were so many league positions between the clubs. That’s a massive positive for this club.
“We can take what we have learned forward into the rest of the league campaign. That’s why we played teams like Manchester United, Huddersfield and Preston in pre-season – to give my team experience of those levels.
“We believe every day in training is a school day, and we have to take our lessons on board and get better.
“But I was pleased with everything about the day and a lot of the players did themselves proud. I know the fans will be proud and will realise we are a progressive club.”
Chairman Pilley was equally proud, saying: “It was a fantastic day and I thought the club coped admirably with the very large crowd. I would like to think that everyone enjoyed the experience and hope that the vast majority will come back again.
“Ian Holloway has been gushing in his praise and we are very grateful. It was an emotional day and it made us very proud to see the ground bursting at the seams.
“I thought the 5-1 scoreline was a bit harsh but their finishing was Premier League standard and that was the clear difference.
“Now it’s back to the bread and butter, and the Barrow game is more important to us in many ways as we try to become a member of the 92 the easiest way.”
Mellon has no fresh injuries arising from Saturday and has Richard Brodie (suspended), Ryan Crowther and Danny Rose (both cup-tied) all up for selection after missing the cup game.
The manager also knows winger Peter Till is raring to go again after completing his first 90 minutes of the season.
Mellon added: “Peter Till is a player we wanted to try to get and he suffered horrendously with injury, but we are starting to see what he is capable of and hopefully he can be a major player for us for the rest of the season.”
The manager welcomes a return to normality after the media frenzy surrounding Saturday’s derby.
“I think 80 per cent of professional clubs would be unused to what we got last week, but it was good to give people access to what we are all about,” he added.
The constant questioning about Jamie Vardy’s future appeared to get him down on Saturday but a reflective Mellon said yesterday: “It would get me down if I never had player a like that.
“People must appreciate that I’m not about to dismantle this team. I’m glad people are saying nice things about my players but we are fully committed to getting Fleetwood out of this league as quickly as possible. Nothing will distract us from that.”