Pressley’s praises Fleetwood’s professionals and volunteers

Steven Pressley

Steven Pressley

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Steven Pressley hailed the ground staff and the volunteers who battled to get Saturday’s game on at Highbury, where they were rewarded with three vital points against Scunthorpe.

Ash Hunter and Bobby Grant were on target in Town’s 2-1 win, Paddy Madden’s second-half penalty making the finale more tense than the Iron’s lacklustre performance deserved.

The only downside for Town was an injury to Conor McLaughlin, who was helped off the field just before the break after sliding awkwardly on the difficult surface.

Town are yet to determine the extent of the right-back’s knee injury but the Northern Ireland international is almost certain to miss tomorrow’s trip to Rochdale.

This first win since January 2 lifted Town above the relegation zone on goal difference, and they would climb a further three spots to 17th with victory at Spotland.

Pressley said of Saturday’s game: “I thought it was a performance of two halves. First half we were excellent.

“The penalty kick changes the game. I thought it was dubious.

“It gave them a little bit of impetus, a little bit of belief. And for us, when you’re in the bottom four as we were before kick-off, a few nerves set in.

“But we showed an abundance of mentality and desire in the latter part of the game.”

And Pressley made it clear his side wouldn’t be out of the drop zone without the huge effort which went into clearing water off the pitch.

“I’ve got to say a big thank to you to the ground staff,” he said. “When we arrived here, there was a big doubt about the game.

“It took a lot of effort, and without that effort we wouldn’t be standing here with three points, out of the relegation zone.”

Town dominated early on and opened the scoring with a slick move, kick-started by returning midfield playmaker Jimmy Ryan. His 40-yard ball was met by Hunter, who timed his run to perfection and lobbed the keeper.

Pressley joked: “I wouldn’t say it was a long ball – it’s a terrific pass from Jimmy.

“It’s great movement and a great ball, and Ash uses it very effectively – a good touch and a great finish. He scored one similar in training last week.

“If you look at his goal ratio it’s very impressive. He scored five in eight in a short period at Ilkeston. He’s scored six in 15 here.

“Many of those were scored coming off the bench. It’s an incredible ratio for such a young player.

“He always gives you that threat but I think there’s more to come from him.

“I said to him at half-time there were a couple of moments he needs to tidy up.

“He’s scored but he can’t be satisfied with just a goal. There’s got to be more.”

Grant added the second with a glancing header, and Pressley said that goal rewarded his efforts in the stalemate at Port Vale a week earlier.

The Fleetwood boss said: “Bobby wasn’t so effective attacking last week, although his work ethic to see the game out was terrific.

“Sometimes when you work that hard you don’t get your rewards in one game but you get them later. He got his reward today.

“He was so effective making those runs from the right. It’s a great cross from Antoni Sarcevic and a lovely header.

“I’m really pleased for the group. They are working hard and it’s a big victory for them, not just in terms of points but psychologically as well.”

Town have at least one game in hand on all the League One teams above them, and are now just one point behind Blackpool from two fewer matches.

Tomorrow’s hosts Rochdale are also being drawn into the ever-closer scrap at the bottom and the three-point haul was most welcome for Pressley.

“The one thing I didn’t want was another draw,” he added.

“I think we’re the draw specialists of the league. We needed to turn draws into victories and we had the mentality to do that.”