ANTHONY Barry is putting any sentimental thoughts to the back of his mind as Fleetwood Town prepare for tonight’s crucial derby clash at Accrington Stanley.
Barry began his career at the Crown Ground and is desperate to see Stanley survive.
But with Fleetwood in need of points to keep their promotion dream alive, the midfielder knows it’s no time to show any mercy.
He said “I’ve got good memories of Accrington and I’m looking forward to going back there.
“It’s a big game for both clubs for different reasons. I’ve got a place in my heart for Accrington, but at the end of the day it’s business and we’re going there to get a win.
“We want to get in the play-offs. We’re a hungry club and we’ve got hungry players, and if we don’t do it it’s a failure by us.
“We’re not going there for a draw. Everyone knows a draw is no good to us now. We’re going for the win and hopefully it will be a good game.”
With Francis Jeffers having joined Stanley last week, Leam Richardson could field two former England strikers against Fleetwood (the other being James Beattie).
Barry added: “Having James Beattie and Francis Jeffers up front shows just how far Accrington have come.
“They’ve been down in the mires anow now they can attract players like that. It shows how big the changes there have been.
“Their experience and know-how will be a threat to us. Rommy Boco is a Stanley player I know well and I know how much of a handful he can be.
“We’ll have to be on our guard and forget all about their league position.”
Despite his focus being on a Fletwood win, Barry believes Stanley have enough to avoid the drop back to non-league.
“It is worrying for them but you look at the squad,” he said
I’ve got faith in Leam Richardson, I think they’ll be all right.”
Town’s own problems, right now, are the main concern for Barry – just one goal in 450 minutes of football have left Fleetwood seven points adrift of the play-offs.
Barry believes Town have the quality to get out of their current rut.
“I think we’ve a squad to be envious of but we’ve got to find that right formula,” he said
“If we just get a little bit more clinical, we’ll push on.”
Town stalwart Nathan Pond returned to the starting 11 on Saturday and could face Stanley for the first time tonight, having missed Highbury fixture while on loan at Grimsby.
Fleetwood’s side on Saturday featured just a handful of those who lost 3-1 to Stanley back in November.
Pond said: “I saw the result and it shows what Accrington are capable of. We know it will be hard.
“We won’t disrespect them. We’ll give them the credit they deserve from when they came here.
“Hopefully we’ll have enough to take the three points.”
And the defender knows it’s going to be tricky, despite Accrington’s precarious position.
He said: “Accrington are down there and they’ll be fighting for their lives. We know it’s going to be a tough game. They’ve got plenty of experience and quality.
“They’ve brought in Francis Jeffers to add to their firepower, so it’ll certainly keep the defence on its toes.”
Stanley, now managed by the former Blackpool full-back Leam Richardson, have won only twice in 19 League Two games since their victory at Fleetwood and slipped to second-bottom with Saturday’s 2-0 defeat at Northampton.
Richardson rang the changes for that game, dropping the former England striker James Beattie along with previously ever-present midfielder Luke Joyce.
Richardson explained: “We are alwyas trying to improve and it proves there is competition for places.
“It’s important everyone scratches and sticks together, It’s going to be a good fight and a good run to the end of the season.”