Acc and back, now leader of pack

Fleetwood Town Rob Atkinson in training
Fleetwood Town Rob Atkinson in training
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FOOTBALL has always been a game in which fortunes change in a moment.

And the past fortnight has seen some truly momentous changes for Rob Atkinson.

Recalled by Micky Mellon from his loan spell at Accrington Stanley to solve a defensive crisis, Atkinson could never have believed that 10 days later he would be leading Fleetwood Town out as captain under a new manager.

But that’s precisely how things worked out on Saturday and centre-half Atkinson certainly isn’t complaining.

“It’s been a hectic 10 days,” he admits. “I’m really glad to be back and playing football for Fleetwood.

“It was a good loan spell at Accrington and I got the chance to play some first-team football, get the matches under my belt and get the fitness levels up.

“But I’ve come back and I was just happy to be starting against Southend, but for the manager to call me in an hour before kick-off and give me the armband, I was thrilled.

“I’ve had a smile on my face from ear to ear and I’m really honoured to be captain.”

Saturday’s tough encounter with in-form Southend ended a 0-0 draw, a point Atkinson believes Fleetwood was hard-earned for the Highbury side. The 25-year-old said: “Southend were a tough side on a long unbeaten run (10 games).

“They were very direct. They play at a quick tempo and put a lot of balls into the box. “But we defended well as a unit and there were definitely a lot of positives to come from the game. Hopefully in the long run we’ll see it as a point gained.”

And the former Grimsby man, who made only his 18th appearance for Fleetwood since his coast-to-coast move in June last year, believes the home side can take heart from the result and their performance.

He said: “As long as we remained solid at the back we thought we were going to create a few chances.

“We created one or two in the second half and I think we could have nicked it.

“Don’t get me wrong, Southend are a good side – but so are we.

“There were some good performances out there and we can take a lot of encouragement from the point.”

Atkinson, who partnered Alan Goodall at the heart of defence for the first time on Saturday, says new boss Alexander has made a good impression in his first few days at the club.

He added: “We’d only had an hour with him on the training ground before Saturday’s game, but it was a very good training session.

“I’m delighted he’s decided to give me the armband, even if it is just for one game.It’s an honour.

“Hopefully, the management team will have some good new ideas and it will be positive for the football club.”