Fleetwood boss Steven Pressley insists he’s found the club in better shape than expected – three months into his Highbury tenure.
The Scot took over in the wake of Graham Alexander’s sacking, with a mission to keep Town in League One.
So far he hasn’t been able to haul the club away from the drop zone – the postponement of last night’s clash with Walsall the latest in a string of issues which have seen Fleetwood hover around the bottom four.
But Town’s manager, who is well schooled in fighting fires having sat in the hotseat at Coventry City and Falkirk, insists things could have been far worse.
Having had time to assess his troops, the former Scotland defender believes he has the core of a competitive squad.
And rather than plotting a major rebuild, Pressley is looking to make targeted adjustments to stave off the drop.
“In terms of the club, it’s everything I hoped it would be,” he said.
“The players, I think, are probably better than I expected them to be, in the sense that sometimes you think you need to make radical changes when you come in.
“Yes, we need to make certain changes but the players have surprised me.
“One thing that’s surprised me is they are a close group, with plenty of honesty and a desire to improve. That makes life as a manager far easier.”
Having been in control over virtually every aspect of the footballingoperation at Coventry, Pressley is glad to have technical director Gretar Steinsson on his side at Fleetwood, allowing him to spend more time on the training ground.
And he believes the hard work being put in by his players, who have had to adjust to a much stricter training and discipline regime under the Scot, is beginning to pay off.
Results might not yet fully reflect it, but analysis has shown some record-busting performances on the field.
“I’ve loved it, I’ve really have loved it,” said Pressley of his time with Town.
“I’ve been very fortunate that I’ve got the nucleus of a very good group of players and I’ve been really impressed with how I see improvements in general week after week.
“Even at the weekend (when Town played out a goalless draw with Doncaster), the stats showed there were a number of players who broke their previous records in terms of the physical aspects of the game.
“From their data, we can see they are getting fitter and fitter all the time.
“In the last few weeks, we’ve had a number of players breaking their data stats on the physical aspects of the game.
“They’re working harder than ever. They’re improving in many aspects.
“But there’s still plenty of improvement to be come. I’ve only been in the job three and a half months and I see so much improvement to come.
“But I’ve been pleased with certain aspects – there are other aspects we must continue to improve.”
The new manager made no secret of his need for speed after taking over from Alexander.
He has brought in loan signings David Henen and Alex Kiwomya as well as striker Devante Cole to boost attacking options.
And now Pressley is looking to the need to strengthen his back line – a priority before the transfer window shuts on Monday night.
“I think we still need another defender,” he said. “I’ve been really pleased with Joe Davies and Nathan Pond but we’re asking them to play game after game after game.
“With so many games coming so thick and fast, there’s a concern they’ll play too much football and as a result we’ll be hit by an injury.
“There is a concern in that department which we need to address for the last three months of the season.”