Meet Town's opposition: In-form Fleetwood will be a tough nut to crack
- Credit: PA
Ipswich Town make the long trek north to Fleetwood tonight. MIKE BACON takes a look at the Blues' opposition.
FORM TEAMS CLASH
Fleetwood may be sitting in the bottom half of the League One table, but they are one of the division's form teams.
Simon Grayson took over as manager of Fleetwood at the end of January after the club parted company with Joey Barton. He has helped guide them, not just up the table, but on a fine recent run that has seen them unbeaten in five, including wins at Lincoln and Shrewsbury. On Saturday, they drew at Blackpool.
Certainly one look at the League One table gives you a false impression of the Cod Army's recent form and this is set to be a tricky test for Paul Cook's side.
Ipswich are currently sixth in the table and fourth in the form guide (last six games) standings. Fleetwood are 14th in the live table, but a very impressive sixth in the form guide.
GETTING TO KNOW YOU!
- 1 Man left with serious burns after fire at Hadleigh petrol station
- 2 Community thanked for helping seriously burned man at Hadleigh petrol station
- 3 Matchday Recap: Town beaten yet again as Blues flop at Northampton
- 4 George Burley: Ipswich fans' dreams would have been shattered by a European Super League
- 5 DHL driver apologises after 'dangerous' driving in Ipswich rat-run
- 6 Commuter faces full trains on line from East Anglia to London
- 7 Retailer to pay £60K after multiple food hygiene breaches in Sudbury store
- 8 Rose-tinted reaction to Duke's death was so out of proportion
- 9 Town's new owners to discuss player recruitment with Cook this week
- 10 New survey reveals Suffolk's property hotspots
Town and Fleetwood have only met twice - both in League One - the two matches last season bizarrely ending in 1-0 victories for the away team.
Kayden Jackson got Town's winner in the north-west in October 2019, before Ched Evans came off the bench to do the same at Portman Road five months later. Even this season so far, the two teams have yet to meet.
Then again, their paths were always unlikely to cross unless Town slipped down the pyramid and Fleetwood rose up it. Which of course, is just what has happened.
In 2010 Fleetwood won promotion to the old Football Conference (now National League). And after consolidating for one season, the year after and thanks to a 29-game unbeaten run, they won promotion to the Football League for the first time.
Their top striker during this period was a certain Jamie Vardy. Having helped Fleetwood into the Football League, the then non-league marksman moved to Leicester for what is still a non-league record £1.7m transfer fee in 2012. Money well spent by the Foxes.
Ipswich were in the Championship at this time, as the Cod Army made their way into League football. Now they are on the same terms.
MEET THE GAFFER - SIMON GRAYSON
Fleetwood boss Simon Grayson was a right back as a player, in a near 20-year career that saw him begin at Leeds, before playing in the Premier League for Leicester, Villa and Blackburn.
As a manager, he started out at Fleewood's neighbours, Blackpool, before managing Leeds United for four seasons where he had much success. The Elland Road club were in League One when he took over in 2008 and he guided them into the Championship two seasons later.
However, he couldn't get them into the Premiership and although he had a win ratio of almost 50% while boss at Leeds, he was dismissed in February 2012.
A move to Preston saw him guide the Lilywhites into the Championship, but interest from Sunderland saw him join them in 2017. That never worked out and after short spells at Bradford and Blackpool, again, he finds himself at Fleetwood. And Grayson is feeling confident as Town come calling tonight.
He said: "Paul Cook has gone in at Ipswich and I expect him to make it a really tough game for us, but as I have said in the past few weeks people will be looking at us thinking we’re on a good run and that we have some good players so if we prepare properly we can do enough to win the game.”
GOALFEST? NOT SURE!
Both Fleetwood and Ipswich Town have two of the most goal-shy forward lines in League One.
Hull (61 goals), Peterborough and Lincoln (53), MK Dons (50), even second bottom Swindon (41), have found the net with more regularity so far this campaign than Town (38) and Fleetwood (39). In saying that, both Town and Fleetwood have pretty mean defences t'boot.
So, if you are expecting a goal fest, don't bet your house on it! Famous last words... I'll go for a 4-4 draw!
DID YOU KNOW?
Fleetwood is the only town in Britain with trams running the full length of its main street, sharing road-space with cars.