Strong heads wanted at Fleetwood Town

Charlie Taylor could return tonight
Charlie Taylor could return tonight

Graham Alexander is calling on his players to get their heads in the right place – not only in terms of their frame of mind but when the ball is in the box.

The Fleetwood boss has made it clear his team need to be less wasteful from set-pieces, having been shown by Mansfield Town on Saturday just how critical clinical finishing from corners can be.

“We got beaten by a set- piece and we could have scored from those ourselves,” Alexander said.

“We had some great deliveries but didn’t make the right runs.

“I think when you’re getting in there to score, you have to have an intent to score.

“You can’t just jog up and let it hit your head. You’ve got to make the ball yours. You have to have that determination.

“Players have it in defensive situations but don’t have it at the other end. It’s a mentality – it’s the same principle at both ends.

“We’ve got some really good players who can put in great balls and some lads with really good size, and they should be scoring more.”

At Field Mill, Town suffered their second defeat in three games against sides in the bottom half of the table.

And Alexander has made it clear that their up-and-down form must be brought under control, starting tonight against Plymouth Argyle at Highbury.

He said: “We’ve lost too many against teams in the bottom half.

“We’ve got a fantastic record against the top sides but we have to play 23 teams and be the best against all of them.

“We’ve shown in loads of games this season what a really good team we can be. But the season is over 46 games.

“We have to be better over those 46 games than anybody else. If we’re not winning we want to be picking up points at least.

“We’ve not done enough of that this season. That’s something I thought we’d got sorted but Saturday was a step backwards.

“I’m not going to sugar-coat it. We’re fifth in the table on the back of the results we’ve picked up.

“It is those results against teams at the bottom end, in games which we were expected to win, which have kept us out of the top places.”

Tonight is the fourth Tuesday night game in as many weeks, a statistic Alexander acknowledged is starting to take its toll on his squad, which was decimated on Saturday by illness and injury.

Full-backs Conor Mc-Laughlin and Charlie Taylor both missed out thanks to a sickness bug, with Steven Schumacher, Jeff Hughes, Jamille Matt and David Ball all absent though injury.

“It’s been hectic for quite a while,” said Alexander. “It’s difficult.

“We’ve picked up a few injuries along the way, and when you’re into a game a few days later there’s no chance for recovery. There’s just no time for that.

“Our numbers were depleted on Saturday. We couldn’t do anything about that.

“Those are the realities of football and we have to get on with it. You can’t moan about it.”

Alexander hoping there’s light at the end of the tunnel ahead of tonight’s Pilgrims showdown under the lights at Highbury, one of nine League Two matches kicking off at 7.45pm tonight.

“I don’t know if they will be back to full fitness,” Alexander admitted of his illness- hit stars.

“A couple haven’t been able to eat, have been sick and have been in bed.

“You don’t know until you get into a game. Hopefully they will be recovered and in good shape by tomorrow.

“The injuries are unfortunate but we’ve got enough fit players to get results and we need to remember that.”

And the Fleetwood boss is confident Town can reverse their fortunes and get their promotion push back on track.

Of his players, Alexander said: “They are in good spirits. You’re talking about one slip in concentration from a set-piece which has cost us a point.

“Those are the fine lines. The width of a post has denied us at the other end.”

Alexander is hoping to have a number of key figures back in contention tonight.

Schumacher trained yesterday, as did wideman Matty Blair, with the full-back pairing of McLaughlin and Taylor also believed to have recovered from illness.