Fleetwood eye signings to ease New Year fixture pile-up

Officials give up hope of the match going ahead
Officials give up hope of the match going ahead

Fleetwood manager Steven Pressley hinted he may make a move in the January transfer window as Town face a fixture logjam.

Saturday’s League One game against Walsall was called off 90 minutes before kick-off by referee Scott Duncan, with standing water on the Highbury pitch.

The game will probably be rescheduled for a night in February, adding to the burden of a packed New Year schedule which includes a rearranged game at Colchester and a two-leg Johnstone’s Paint Trophy Northern Area Final against Barnsley.

And Pressley admits he might need fresh legs to keep Town’s hopes for Wembley and League One survival on track – weekend wins for Blackpool and Barnsley have left Fleetwood just one place above the drop zone.

“They’ll look very congested,” he said when quizzed on the early weeks of the new year.

“Momentum is going to be the key.

“If we can get results going into that period it’ll be good.

“We hope to bring in a little bit of freshness as well.

“I’ve been really pleased with the group but I think a little bit of freshness will help and create additional competition and with that hopefully we’ll have enough to get through these games.”

Thanks to an enforced break on FA Cup second round weekend and this weekend’s postponement Fleetwood will go into next weekend’s game at struggling Crewe having played just one competitive fixture in three weeks.

And their manager admits that’s far from ideal.

“It’s a bad thing,” he told The Gazette. “I like the games thick and fast, especially as we’re brimming with confidence.

“In that respect we’d love to have played but we can’t do anything about it.

“We have to refocus and get ready for what is a big, big game at Crewe.”

Indeed, Pressley believes Fleetwood were ready to build on their victory over Morecambe in midweek - a win which exorcised the demons of their derby day defeat at Blackpool.

“When you win games you can’t wait on the next game coming,” said the Fleetwood manager - who rewarded his players with an extra training session rather than an early start to their Christmas party.

“But we just have to deal with that.

“It was the players’ Christmas night so we did some preparations for that making sure they were able to go there and enjoy that.”

The Highbury pitch was subjected to a battering from the elements - two hours of torrential rain leaving standing water in several areas.

In the end Pressley knew there was no alternative.

And he believes it wasn’t worth risking Fleetwood’s award-winning surface for the sake of one game

“It wasn’t a surprise at all,” said Pressley in the wake of the downpour

“The referee made the right decision for a number of reasons - player safety, spectacle... the ball wasn’t even rolling in the areas of the pitch.

“It’s disappointing but without doubt it’s the right decision. And it isn’t just the right decision for the day.

“I think longer term we are a team that wants to play and pass and if we had played there could have been long term effects because of the because it would have been a mudbath.

“It’s the right decision, it’s not ideal because it was our final game before Christmas.

“It tends to attract a good crowd, a good atmosphere.

“We’re disappointed in that respect but it’s the right decision.”

And he believes the fans wouldn’t have got value for their money had the turnstiles opened.

“It wouldn’t have suited us, it wouldn’t have suited Walsall,” said the Fleetwood boss

“We’re both passing teams who don’t rely on the physical aspects of the game.

“You wouldn’t have seen the best from both sides.

“We just had to go to the training ground and run the players.”

One annoyance for Pressley is the hours of preparation gone to waste.

He explained: “You spend many hours watching the DVDs, preparing, discussing with the staff all the aspects of how we’re going to play.