fBury 0 Fleetwood 0: Five things we learned
Fleetwood Town writer Rosie Swarbrick takes a look at the key talking points from the 0-0 draw at Bury.
Fleetwood picked up another clean sheet and another vital point as the race for promotion hots up.
Uwe Rosler’ men are now third in the table on 69 points and six points off second-placed Bolton with seven games to go.
But the German still stressed in his post-match press that the target is still 74 points as the final month of the season approaches.
1) More injuries?
The treatment room at Poolfoot Farm must have a revolving door - just as two players returned from injury another two limped off!
Skipper Nathan Pond (calf) and Martyn Woolford (knee) were both fit enough to start on the bench, they did not feature, but just having leader Pond back in the squad is a big boost to Rosler’s side.
But the sight of centre-half Ben Davies and midfielder Markus Schwabl limping off is not what Rosler wanted to see with seven games to go.b
2) Town still lacking firepower
Rosler has been unable to rotate his strikers in the same fashion he has done all season in recent weeks due to injuries to Wes Burns (ankle) and Devante Cole (groin). On Saturday Bobby Grant was once again deployed up front with David Ball but despite their talents Town lacked a bit of pace on the counter. Hunter made some inroads when he came off the bench but Town will be boosted by the news that Burns is anticipated to train this week as it gives them another attacking option that is needed especially after back-to-back goalless draws.
3) Blank blueprint is secret to success
Fleetwood have only lost once in 22 games and with Rosler’s men keeping six clean sheets in their last seven games.
Overall in that 22 game run Town have kept 13 clean sheets and their mean defence overcame another test on Saturday.
Bolger still looks to be shaking off a chest infection but still hoofed or headed anything in his path clear with Town having to deal with a couple of reshuffles.
With right wing-back Conor McLaughlin on international duty with Northern Ireland Godswill Ekpolo was given the nod and he slotted in.
Town obviously missed McLaughlin, who has been named in the EFL team of the year, but Godswill put in a much more stable and solid performance than we have seen from McLaughlin’s previous replacements over the season.
Town adapted once again when Davies went off in the 20th minute forcing right-footed Ash Eastham to move over to role on the left of the back three and Joe Davis slotting in on the right.
Town handled the reshuffle well but they did have some shaky moments as the clock ticked down.
4) Davis back out from the cold
When Godswill Ekpolo got the nod at Walsall it looked like there was no way back for Davis.
But when Davies limped off with 20 minutes on the clock it was deemed too soon for Pond to make his comeback off the bench and so it was Davis who slotted in on the right of the back three.
He played 80 minutes and helped Town to a clean sheet but with Pond expected to get some minutes under his belt for the development squad, Godswill able to play in the back three and McLaughlin back from international duty it will be hard for him to keep his spot.
5) Teams are continuing to match Town up.
Fleetwood boss Rosler revealed on Goals on Sunday to Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder that he had mirrored his 3-5-2 formation.
The shift to that formation coincides with this current 22 game run that has seen Town lose just once.
But in recent weeks teams have been facing Fleetwood in the same formation to nullify the impact of Town’s wing-backs.
On Saturday with both teams cancelled each other out using that formation but that may also have been because neither team wanted to lose and it showed on the pitch.
Speaking about the 3-5-2 formation sitting next to Wilder, boss of league leaders Sheffield United, the German said: “We find a way to play, mirrored a little bit Chris to be fair, with the three at the back.
“He set the standard in that league this season with the 3-5-2 we followed it up, now a lot of teams follow that up.”