Fleetwood Town boss welcomes keeper competition

Fleetwood v Blackburn
Fleetwood v Blackburn

Fleetwood Town boss Uwe Rosler says the fight for the goalkeeping position at Highbury is an open one.

Town’s 2-0 defeat to Gillingham at Highbury a month ago was keeper Alex Cairns’ last league appearance.

Chris Neal has come back into the Fleetwood Town side in recent weeks

Chris Neal has come back into the Fleetwood Town side in recent weeks

Chris Neal has come into the side since then as Fleetwood have steadied the ship to win three out of five.

Now as they head to the Gills a point behind Steve Lovell’s men in 13th the German says he sees both 24-year-old Cairns and 32-year-old Neal as equals going into the clash.

Speaking on the competition Rosler said: “Alex’s situation is different than Chris Neal’s.

“Chris has given us experience and calmness in a difficult period.

“Alex Cairns had time to work on his game, which he did.

“Sometimes it is important, when you take young players out of the firing line, for them not to lose their confidence.

“I think, in the last month, he (Cairns) had chance to work on his game and build his confidence.

“Every goalkeeper offers you slightly different things and it depends what you are looking for at Gillingham.

“In general, yes, the fight for the shirt is quite open.”

There is not just competition in goal either with a battle at right-back between Gethin Jones and Lewie Coyle, six strikers competing for three starting spots, a plethora of options in the middle of the park and Kevin O’Connor expected to fill the gap left by Amari’i Bell’s departure.

Town head to Gillingham aiming to make it four straight league away wins in a row and Rosler explained why he think their form on the road is so good.

He said: “The club allow us to travel in a professional manner which gives us results.

“When you see the away table we are sixth in the league.

“Whatever people say it has to do also with preparation and travel arrangements and we are quite privileged that the club allows us to travel in a most effective way; that the players spend less energy as they should do so they can focus on the games ahead of them.

“The initiative is with the opposition; I think mentally it is sometimes easier to go into those sort of games where you have more to win than lose and we are quite enjoying scenario.

“I think the way we play in general suits us as well.

“We have confidence in the way we play but at the moment we are getting more out of it points wise away from home.”

The Cod Army will have fond memories of the Priestfield Stadium as it was the setting for Kyle Dempsey’s last-gasp winner that took last season’s battle for automatic promotion from League One down to the final day.

Bolton Wanderers pipped Town to promotion and Rosler believes the Gills are a changed side to last season.

He says: “It was a tough game, I think Gillingham are now a better side.

“They have match winners in their team but I think we can cause them problems.

“We are better now than we were a month ago (when they beat us 2-0).

“Psychologically that was a very difficult game for us.

“I felt a little bit sorry for my young players in that game because, after 10 minutes, we could not change it.

“But since then we have changed, we have more spirit around us and we know when we go away we have a good chance to get points.”