Fleetwood defender Eastham is at ease with Sheridan style

Ash Eastham
Ash Eastham

Back-to-back clean sheets were just the tonic for birthday boy Ash Eastham, who is targeting more to fuel Fleetwood’s survival bid.

Since new boss John Sheridan has come in, Town have built on three draws with Tuesday’s 2-0 win at Eastham’s old stomping ground Rochdale.

It is a return to the blank blueprint of last term that helped Town mount a promotion bid.

Now they bid to break another record under new boss Sheridan by winning their first home league game since October when they face fellow relegation battlers Northampton tomorrow.

And Eastham, who turned 27 yesterday, says clean sheets can be key. The centre-half said: “I’ve always said it is not just us (defenders) that take the credit for a clean sheet – it is the whole team.

“Last season we were getting them week in, week out but we pride ourselves on clean sheets and the team can build from that.

“You are always going to be collecting points if you are doing that.

“Up to now we have not really set the standards we did last season.

“With nine games to go, hopefully we can get back to the figures and stats we made last season and end the season really well to maintain our league status.”

Coupled with the clean sheets, Eastham says a the greater attacking freedom under Sheridan has boosted the side.

But he says the defence has been given more responsibilty to organise on the pitch, with a notable increase in communication under Sheridan.

Eastham added: “Sheridan has built a bit of a camaraderie with the team and a togetherness

“We realise the situation we are in but we strongly believe we can get ourselves out of it.

“The manager wants the forward thinking players to take the shackles off, go and express themselves because maybe in recent times they have been holding back a bit.

“We are prepared at the back to do the hard defensive work and you lads go and create chances, which we have done. He has given us responsibility to organise the players in front of us.

“He has given them a freedom to express themselves but within that you need a framework and a shape, so every now and then we need to pull people in and say to the likes of Ash (Hunter) and Wes (Burns), ‘Come here’.

“We are giving them that freedom and as leaders at the back we need to stay on top of things. I like the way we are playing.”