Fleetwood forward Ash Hunter says there are no excuses for not emulating last term’s promotion push as they now look ahead to rediscovering that form next season.
After last season’s run to the play-offs, Town’s close season began with the exits of experienced trio Conor McLaughlin, Jimmy Ryan and David Ball.
Town also saw Ball’s replacement, Conor McAleny, injured early in the season before the January departures of top scorer Devante Cole and Amari’i Bell.
Head coach Uwe Rosler also left with John Sheridan taking over in February, since when Town have effectively avoided relegation from League One with Hunter swapping his usual forward’s role for a position at left wing-back.
“It has not been as good a season as we expected,” Hunter said.
“Coming off the back of last season we closely missed out on promotion and wanted to be up there again.
“It has not happened but luckily we are still in the league and there is always next year.
“We lost a few key players, and when Conor came in as the key player, we probably missed his presence for quite a while.
“But there are no excuses. Hopefully next year we can be even better than 2016/17.”
For Hunter and company though, there will be a new face at the helm with Joey Barton the new man in charge.
Hunter has grown up watching Barton – and reading some of the negative headlines – but is excited to meet him when they return for pre-season training.
He also reiterated that the announcement of Barton’s forthcoming arrival – and Sheridan’s exit – has not impacted their preparation for the final two games of the League One season against Peterborough United and Walsall.
He said: “I’ve seen a few headlines about him so it will be interesting to meet him and see what he is like.
“I’m looking forward to it; it is a fresh start for everyone and hopefully we carry on where we have left off at the end of this season.
“None of the lads have met him yet, so when we finally meet him it will be nice to find out what he is like.
“Nobody has really said anything about it really; the focus has just been on staying up.”