JAMIE McGuire could hardly have entered FA Cup in a healthier frame of mind.
The Fleetwood Town midfielder left Highbury on Saturday with a man of the match award, his manager’s praise ringing in his ears and a first goal of the season to his name.
If that’s not enough, McGuire had also captained the Town side which defeated Bath 4-1 to move within two points of the Blue Square Bet Premier summit.
“It could not be much better to be honest,” said McGuire, whose thoughts are already turning to Saturday’s FA Cup fourth-qualifying round tie away to league rivals Mansfield.
Manager Micky Mellon hailed McGuire’s “captain’s performance”, describing the Wirral-born midfielder as “different class”, but the praise certainly won’t go to the head of a player who insists he was only keeping the captain’s armband warm for Steve McNulty (suspended last weekend).
“Being captain does affect the way I play but Steve is the main captain. I step in when he isn’t there.
“We just have to keep going and worrying about no-one else but ourselves. The main thing now is Mansfield in the FA Cup. It will be a tough game but we will work on things all week with the management team.”
And despite Saturday’s convincing victory margin, McGuire insists there is plenty to work on.
“Bath did well for the first 20 minutes and had a few chances and, we had to dig in,” said McGuire, who turns 28 in three weeks. “We needed to defend set-pieces well and we didn’t. I switched off for one, and Brodie and Pondy did too.”
And it was McGuire’s deadlock-breaking goal which helped settle Town.
He added: “After 20 minutes we did OK. We moved the ball better and we got the goal with a bullet header from a corner.
“Milli (Jamie Milligan) puts in great ball and I thought I’d gamble and have a go. A few lads said it was an own goal but it was over the line.
“We knew we had to to move the ball quicker out wide because we have good players there. Vards (Jamie Vardy) is special and he made it 2-0.
“We said at half-time that we needed to get better, but when you have special players coming on, like Sedds (Gareth Seddon) it makes you better as a team.
“In the second half we had to dig in for a while, but the game opened up for us because they had to come out.
McGuire echoed manager Mellon in praising the fans’ contribution. He added; “You could feel the fans really getting behind us and it’s great support. They are not called the Cod Army for nothing.”
INTERVIEW: DAVID MITCHELL