Sarcevic eyes play-off spot for Fleetwood

Antoni Sarcevic
Antoni Sarcevic

Antoni Sarcevic believes Fleetwood can draw a line under their troubled start to the season and look upwards.

Manager Steven Pressley may still be focused on a relegation battle, but midfielder Sarcevic believes Town’s recent form shows what they are capable of in the second half of the campaign.

Sarcevic is one of Pressley’s “core seven” – the defence and midfield on which he has settled as the foot soldiers of his Highbury revolution.

And the 23-year-old believes Fleetwood are beginning to show the kind of form which can shoot them up League One.

He said: “Minus the Blackpool game, confidence is flying and it puts us in a good position to face a good Walsall side on Saturday.

“We know it’s tight at the bottom but it’s also tight in the middle.

“We feel if we can get a nice little run going we can be in touch with the play-offs.

“That’s where we’re looking. There’s no way we’re looking down. We beat Swindon and Millwall, and we had a tight game against Blackpool.

“But the fixtures coming up are games we want to be winning and pushing up towards the play-offs.”

Town face Walsall this afternoon looking to avenge their FA Cup defeat last month.

The Saddlers go into the game in third spot and Town in 18th but Sarcevic believes they are much closer than the table might suggest.

“Anyone can beat anyone. That’s what we have to believe,” he said. “Teams up at the top are dropping points.

“It’s a tough league, but it we can get through this busy Christmas period in good form, then we’ll see where we might finish.”

With that in mind, the former Crewe midfielder is eyeing a festive push.

He said: “Footballers can’t enjoy the Christmas period in the same way as some, with all the games close together. If we get a run, we’ll be able to see where we can push on to.”

One thing Sarcevic is clear on is that Town’s horrendous start to the campaign should be left in the past.

He believes boss Pressley has made the changes which were needed and the players have bought into his message.

Sarcevic said: “It was a bad start to the season but there’s a long way to go.

“This is the period when you want to make a push.

“The gaffer has brought his beliefs and you can see we’re high in confidence. He’s happy with the way we’re playing.

“I’m just enjoying my football and looking forward. There’s no point dwelling on the past. Get a couple of wins and we’re right up there.”

Sarcevic believes one of the key factors in Fleetwood’s upturn in fortunes has been the clarity brought to the club by Pressley.

The manager laid down the ground rules from day one, putting in place a very specific style of play which the players have adjusted to superbly.

Sarcevic said: “We work hard on the training pitch. He drills us with what he wants.

“If we get that correct we know we can be confident in ourselves. The gaffer has his way of playing and we had to buy into it. Even he has been impressed with how quickly we’ve done it.”

But if his players are looking up, Pressley is keeping his feet firmly on the ground.

Town remain just two points above the drop zone and the manager knows how quickly the confidence bubble could burst.

He said: “We must realise we’re only one defeat from going back in there. We’ve taken a step out but we could take a step back in at the weekend.

“It’s going to take us months of good form before we are free of those bottom places. That’s why it’s crucial we never ever become complacent.

“Although we’ve had some good performances and good results of late, we’re still right in the relegation battle right now. We have to make sure we keep striving to improve and pull away from there.”

“We’re focusing on our own mini league. Once we get on top of it, we can start to look beyond that. But we’re not top of that mini league yet. We can only take it step by step.

“We take great confidence from Tuesday’s win but we have to follow it up.”

n Next month’s League One fixture at Colchester has been moved back 10 days to Tuesday 19 at 7.45pm. It was scheduled for Saturday January 9, but Town’s Johnstone’s Paint Trophy Northern Area Final first leg at Barnsley will instead take place on that day.