Fleetwood boss Uwe Rosler says tomorrow’s play-off semi-final first leg at Bradford’s packed Valley Parade fortress will be a great lesson and experience for his young squad.
The stadium can hold 25,000, with an average attendance topping 18,000, and Rosler is keen to see how his players have grown since their previous trip to the Bantams last September, when they surrendered an early lead to lose 2-1.
Town won the reverse fixture by the same score in February, ex-Bradford striker Devante Cole equalising for Town before an own goal completed the fightback.
Rosler said: “We need to show we have matured as a group and as individuals, and are ready for the stress to the body and mind of a real play-off game.
“I think they will be great lessons and a great experience for our young squad, and I look forward to how the players will handle that.
“I think Bradford are a very good footballing side. The first game they won 2-1. I think we were a little bit hard done by. A draw would have been a fair result.
“In the second game they outplayed us for some periods of the game but in the last 20 minutes we were very strong and turned the tide in our favour.
“Overall Bradford probably think they have the margins on their side. They fancy themselves against us and probably rightly so, with the history and the size of the club, but underdog status is probably right for us.”
Fleetwood ended the regular season with a goalless home draw against Port Vale and Rosler admitted nerves were on show, but he praised Nathan Pond after the skipper came off the bench to replace the injured Cian Bolger in only the 16th minute.
He said: “I think we had complete control in the first half. I don’t think they threatened us at all.
“We got nervous a little bit but that is understandable. Obviously Cian Bolger’s injury was a big blow for us. I didn’t want to make a substitution like that because I was thinking to save a player for the later stages of the game.
“Pondy came in and did well for us, especially when the game got a little bit erratic in the second half.
“But in the end we left five players up and they left five players up.
“I think nobody could accuse us of not being professional and not trying to win the game.”