Neal’s on the same Page as Fleetwood Town’s opening opposition

Fleetwood Town keeper Chris Neal meets a familiar face this afternoon
Fleetwood Town keeper Chris Neal meets a familiar face this afternoon

He spent two years working under Rob Page at Port Vale so Fleetwood’s new No.1 Chris Neal says he knows exactly what to expect from Northampton today.

Both Neal and Page left Vale Park this summer for new challenges and Neal believes Page’s new Northampton side will be a physical outfit.

Chris Wilder guided the Cobblers up to League One but left to join Sheffield United in the summer, paving the way for Page to take over at the Sixfields Stadium.

And Neal, who spent four years at Vale Park before making the switch to Highbury, says it will be a tough opening day fixture.

“I know how he likes to set up his teams,” Neal said of Page.

“They have got a strong physical team and obviously high on confidence after last season so it will be a tough game.

“All the promoted teams are strong this year so it is going to be a tough league.”

Fleetwood spent most of last season battling at the wrong end of the League One table.

They just beat the drop on the final day thanks to a 2-0 victory against Crewe Alexandra.

Neal was one of a number of players Steven Pressley brought in before he resigned last week.

It was a shock departure but since then chairman Andy Pilley has moved swiftly to bring in former Leeds United, Wigan and Brentford boss Uwe Rosler.

The experienced shot-stopper says Rosler has been drilling in his own style of football on the training pitch despite only taking his first session on Monday.

And Neal, 30, says Town have a squad that is capable of challenging in the top half this term and he hopes they can get off to a positive start today.

He said: “We’ve done double sessions this week and done a lot of work.

“They have been long sessions but the manager is getting the way he wants to play and his tactics across.

“I think that is only positive for the club.

“Everyone has been trying to impress the new gaffer this week and hopefully I will be selected today.

“We’ve got a great squad, a great depth and hopefully we will have a great season.

“I think our incentive has got to be looking towards the play-offs.

“I don’t think you can have any other ideas, you want to be up there around the top of the league so we will be looking to get off to a positive start and see where that takes us.”

Neal was handed the No.1 shirt this week but said too much shouldn’t be read into that.

“Squad numbers don’t mean anything in football,” he said. “I’ve learnt that over the years and I will just have to wait and see.”