ASHLEY EASTHAM COLUMN: Back to basics

Fleetwood Town's  Ashley Eastham celebrates with fans at Plymouth
Fleetwood Town's Ashley Eastham celebrates with fans at Plymouth

There comes a point in your career – though I didn’t think it would be at 26! – when you start to be one of the older lads.

I really enjoy passing on the experience and helping out the younger lads because I was in that position once and you want that help and guidance in your career.

I remember at a similar age to Kyle Dempsey and Aiden O’Neill I had clocked up a few red cards and it is never a nice feeling.

The midfielders are in such a combative role that they are going to be in challenges every now and again, and it is about how you learn from it.

They have no doubt taken experience from that.

I think one of the most important things when I look across the squad is that the manager has got options – not just in defence but all the way through the midfield and the attack – and there are some very good players missing out come game day.

It is what you need on the training pitch because you can’t sit back and think, ‘I am guaranteed to play every week’.

Off the pitch, one of my defensive partners Cian Bolger has a new look. He has shaved his beard off – I think it is because he has not scored yet!

I think something needs to change, so hopefully on Saturday he will score his first against my old club Rochdale.

The 15 goals we conceded in six league games last month weren’t evenly spread.

We were either keeping a clean sheet or conceding three or four, and it is never good as a team to go through that.

We like to think we defended well last weekend in the 2-1 win at Plymouth, despite conceding a late goal. We know we are getting back the basics right – defending crosses properly, defending as a unit and as a team. The midfield and the strikers are just as important as the back line.

Our assistant head coach Rob Kelly is kind of the defensive coach of the side.

With his knowledge of the game, he has worked all the way from the Premier League down, so we listen to him, we take his advice on board and we work hard on the training pitch.