Murdoch’s fight for right to play

Stewart Murdoch in training this week, when competition for places was as fierce as ever'Picture: Derick Thomas

Stewart Murdoch in training this week, when competition for places was as fierce as ever'Picture: Derick Thomas

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Fleetwood Town’s squad have been battling to play a part in this afternoon’s top of the table clash with Chesterfield, says midfielder Stewart Murdoch.

Graham Alexander has used every one of his available first-team players in the last seven days, making six changes for Tuesday’s 4-0 victory over Crewe in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy.

And Murdoch, who arrived from Falkirk in the summer and has started the last two for Town, believes the intensity of that performance and the one at Bristol Rovers last Saturday say plenty about the atmosphere in the camp.

He said: “I think it showed on Saturday and Tuesday that everyone wants to be in the team.

“It’s not just for games like this - we want to play a part in whatever games we’re given.

“It’s important everybody chips in and takes their chance, and we’ll just have to see what side the gaffer names.”

Town go into today’s game knowing victory will put them top, having scored seven goals in their last two games and conceded just one.

But Murdoch isn’t getting carried away, with the focus not on taking top spot but on keeping the points pouring in.

Murdoch said: ““We had a good result on Saturday and then with a few changes we took the form into Tuesday night. All the boys are delighted to keep winning.

“That’s what we want to do, just keep winning and see where it takes us. There are still a lot of games.

“It’s important that when we get an opportunity to pick up points we capitalise on it. We can’t let that slip.”

The competition for places is best demonstrated best among Town’s strikers - Jamille Matt and Jon Parkin have both scored twice in the last two, David Ball also finding the net.

Murdoch, who has had to battle hard to earn a start and he added: “I think that’s the good thing about the club. There are two players for every position. Everyone is pushing each other.

“Even when people are left out they are showing a great attitude and want to get back in.

“We need everyone pushing in the same direction. If you’re not picked Saturday, you’ve got to react to it, up your levels and give the support to those who are playing.”

The 22-year-old is hoping his own run in the Fleetwood side will continue today with the visit of Paul Cook’s Spireites.

But with Steven Schumacher, Jeff Hughes, Junior Brown and Antoni Sarcevic all in the running, Murdoch knows he needs to stay at the top of his game.

He added: “Every time I’ve been given an opportunity I’ve given it everything and shown what I can do. There’s not much more I can do.

“I have to take my chances when they come and hopefully the gaffer will see what I can contribute. If I do keep my place, then hopefully I can keep showing him I deserve to be in there.”

Murdoch has certainly had to demonstrate his versatility since arriving at Town. He played Schumacher’s holding midfield role in the 1-0 win at Hartlepool, and then moved into a more attacking position, crossing for Matty Blair to fire in the fourth on Tuesday.

“Wherever you get thrown in you’re happy to be in the team,” he said.

“That’s how much competition there is at the moment. I’m happy to play wherever as long as I get that game time.”

That flexibility, according to Murdoch, is reflected across the squad and is of huge benefit to boss Graham Alexander.

Murdoch said: “A lot of players can fit into different positions. Everybody is capable of doing that when they are asked.

“It’s good to have that flexibility in the team, to be able to play different ways and express ourselves.”