Fleetwood boss sets survival as first target

Steven Pressley
Steven Pressley

Survival must be the first target insists Fleetwood boss Steven Pressley - despite an impressive start at the Highbury helm.

Town have won two of their four fixtures under Pressley - including Saturday’s battling 1-0 victory at Barnsley.

Jamie Proctor’s goal separated the sides and lifted Fleetwood out of the drop zone, at the expense of the Tykes and their own under-pressure boss Lee Johnson.

But Pressley, who has been at Fleetwood less than a month, refuses to get carried away.

He knows there’s still plenty of work to be done to transform Town and the first target has to be to pull away from the bottom four.

“I’m not stupid enough to think it’s going to be all moving forward,” said the former Scotland international.

“There are going to be setbacks along the way, I’m sure of that.

“But for us this season, survival is the key, then we can look beyond that.

“Right now we can’t even look beyond the mid-point of the league.

“Our first stage has to be try to top that level and then we can look beyond that.

“But I’m really pleased with how the players have responded.

“I was very proud of the performance on Saturday at Barnsley.”

Fleetwood go forward without defender Richard Wood whose loan spell came to an end after Saturday’s game.

In a twist of fate the 30-year-old has now joined Chesterfield who visit Highbury in League One on Saturday.

Pressley insists he’ll be ready to exploit his knowledge of the centre half, who he has now managed at two different clubs - Coventry and Fleetwood.

Dean Saunders’ Spireites could do with a reassuring presence like Wood at the back having conceded three at home to Scunthorpe at the weekend.

Town will look to their own ranks for a replacement.

Pressley is hoping Nathan Pond will play some part in a development squad game today (Wednesday) and Town’s talismanic skipper could be fast-tracked back into action.

He has been absence since turning his ankle at Oldham on the second weekend of the season and would be an ideal partner for Dionotan Teixeira who has extended his loan deal from Stoke City until January 2.

Alternatively young Leicester City defender Joe Davis is waiting in the wings and will be in contention to face the Spireites.

Whoever steps in for Wood, Pressley is hoping to see continued improvement at the back, the manager keen for his side to get the basics right before thinking about flair football.

He said: “The fast-flowing, attacking football, the creative football will come in time.

“Don’t worry, it will come in time.

“But when I came here I said we had to fundamentally tighten up at the back.

“It’s now two clean-sheets in three games.

“Even at Bramall Lane we only gave up four opportunities in 90 minutes.

“We’re carrying out a lot of defensive work very well and we will improve offensively, of that I’m sure.”