Voice of experience spurs Fleetwood on

Paul McKenna
Paul McKenna
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MIDFIELDER Paul McKenna insists Fleetwood Town’s players will go all out to secure a play-off spot – despite their fate being out of their hands.

A late goal from Southend United meant Town couldn’t take full advantage of defeats for Exeter and Rotherham on Easter Monday – Fleetwood are an agonising three points off the prized seventh spot.

But McKenna, on loan from Hull City until the end of the season, insists Town will go into their remaining four fixtures believing they can scoop maximum points.

He said: “We’ll have to see whether a point on Monday turns out to be enough. It’s out of our hands a little bit right now.

“But we’ll have to go in with a mentality that we can win the last four games and see where that takes us.”

Town took an early lead through Alan Goodall at Roots Hall before being pegged back in the 86th minute by a Barry Corr header.

McKenna was impressed with the performance.

He said: “It was a great start, then we get the penalty.

“At 2-0 it looks rosy. We don’t score it and they come back.

“But we have to take the positives. It was a good team performance and if we keep putting in a shift like that, nine times out of 10 we’ll come away with something.”

“I think we put a great shift in but we just needed an outlet in the second half.

“The ball was coming back at us quick and we needed to find something.

“But we dug in and it was just unfortunate that they got a goal right at the death.

“It would have been a good away result.”

After the game, manager Graham Alexander was critical of Town’s packed Easter schedule, which left the club playing two games within 48 hours.

But McKenna refused to blame the fixtures or the long journey for Fleetwood’s sloppy second-half display.

He said: “With the travel as well it is difficult but It’s the same for everybody.

“They might have had a day extra but it’s neither here nor there.

“Once you cross the white line all that goes out of the window.

“Yes, maybe we did run out of steam a bit, as the manager said, but maybe we didn’t help ourselves.”

Town look to be hitting form just in time to mount a late play-off charge – strong performances over the Easter weekend reviving hopes of a late push. The performances have improved,” acknowledged McKenna. “We’ve worked hard and looked at our shape, and been aware of what is around us.

“The gaffer wants to instil in us that it’s not about being brilliant week in week out, nobody can do that, it’s about being a team that doesn’t make the mistakes, that is solid and works hard for each other.

Boss Alexander agreed all Town could do was ensure they made the most of their remaining games.

He said: “What other teams do or don’t do, we can’t control. We just have to try to win every game we’ve got and do everything we can to take 12 points.”

And he too was pleased with the way his players had responded since the dismal 2-0 defeat at Barnet, after which they spent an hour in the dressing room with their manager.

Alexander said: “All I’ve been looking to see since the Barnet game was who really cared about playing for the club and who really cared about their job.

“That’s all I’ve asked of them, to show that, and to be fair they have answered me well. Over the last three games they’ve shown the supporters and everyone around the club that it really does matter to them.

“You have to care about your job.

It’s a great job and we’ve got a responsibility to other people to make sure we give everything we’ve got to win games for this club.

Town face Rochdale on Saturday at Highbury before travelling a week on Saturday to Rotherham – another of the sides in the play-off chase they could catch.

“The lads need to recover,” said Alexander. “It was a mammoth task to play two competitive, high-tempo games. We’ll do everything we can to look after the lads up to Saturday and we’ll put out a team to hopefully get three points.

“If we show the level of commitment we have over the last three games, then hopefully our quality will show through.”