Alexander: Fleetwood will chase down top three

Graham Alexander
Graham Alexander

Graham Alexander has his sights set on a top-three finish, insisting Fleetwood Town will ‘chase them down’.

Jon Parkin, Antoni Sarcevic and Jamille Matt were all on target as Alexander’s men completed the double over Portsmouth.

The 3-1 home win lifts Town to fourth spot, three points behind Rochdale who are the next visitors to Highbury on Saturday week.

And manager Alexander made it clear now is the time for his team to start living up to their potential.

He said: “We like to think we’re a good team. We probably haven’t fulfilled our potential over the last three months.

“We still have to work just as hard to make sure we’re competitive.

“We’ve not done anything yet – we’ve just kept in touch with the top three. Now we’re going to chase them down.”

Since their 4-0 home thrashing by Plymouth, Town have gone five games without defeat and travel to struggling Exeter next weekend.

The boss added: “We needed to make sure we got three points to make our other recent results positive ones.

“I think the draws were positive but you have to win games in between to make them positive results.

“I thought we started really well, played some great football, created opportunities and took them, which is important because we haven’t sometimes done that. We were really happy to be 2-0 up at half-time.”

And Alexander admitted he was delighted to see a change of fortune inside the penalty area, even if he didn’t see the push on Josh Morris which led to the second goal.

“We were overdue a penalty,” he said. “We should have had one at Newport.

“I wasn’t watching the incident. I was watching the back line and trying to organise them for any breakaways.

“I didn’t see what happened but it was a great take by Antoni Sarcevic, confidently put away.”

And with Town’s three most potent attacking threats on the scoresheet, Alexander feels the signs are good after his side recently went four games without a goal.

Matt has scored three in three, Sarcevic two in two and Parkin made it 10 for the campaign on Saturday.

Alexander said:“We know how important it was to get Jamille back to fitness. He’s such an important player for us.

“Parky has been there, done it and seen it all. Ten goals is a fantastic return for him this season and we’re expecting more.

“It’s good for the goalscorers to be on the board and good for Sarce’s game.”

And the manager felt his side could have scored more, viewing their failure to take other opportunities as an incentive to stay focused on the training ground.

He said: “You need bodies in the box. You can’t leave it to one person to produce magic.

“There were some good deliveries in the final third and we were positive in our runs into the box. That’s what produced the three goals.

“We’ve had Charlie (Taylor) go one-one-one and Josh at the end – there were other opportunities to score. It keeps us focused for next week.”

The only downside was Jed Wallace’s superb consolation for the visitors, a dazzling run through the Fleetwood defence and 20-yard thunderbolt.

Alexander added: “It’s a great finish but there’s 40 yards of football in between and we could have defended better. We could have done better from the throw in our own half.

“Chris Maxwell deserved a clean sheet. The whole defence did, but three points are the most important thing and we’ve got them.”

And having failed to score in their previous two homes games, the manager thanked the fans for their patience.

“Things have been sticky at home,” he said. “The last game here was a grind (the goalless draw with Wimbledon) but the supporters stuck with us.

“Thankfully they’ve got their reward. We have to thank them for the support they’ve shown when we’ve not been at the races because that’s important.

“There are going to be ups and downs – there are in every season.

“But they can be rest assured that every single one of those players is working as hard as possible to be successful for this club.”