'Dust ourselves down and be ready for Ipswich' ... Fleetwood boss
Ipswich Town travel to Fleetwood this weekend knowing victories are becoming more and more important in their chase for a League One play-off place. MIKE BACON takes a look at Town's hosts.
The story so far
No win in eight, albeit five draws, Fleetwood are still precariously positioned just above the drop zone in League One.
Having lost their opening three League One fixtures back in August, Fleetwood got their season up and running with a win over Cheltenham, before they produced arguably their best result so far this campaign, with a 2-4 win at Rotherham.
Draws with Sunderland, MK Dons and Wycombe, and wins over Gillingham and Bolton before the turn of the year kept them above the relegation spots, which is where they have stayed.
January saw them incredibly double Rotherham with a 1-0 home win and more draws, including a 3-3 at Portsmouth last weekend, where Pompey came from 0-3 down to grab a point, sees them in 19th place in the table, two points above that dreaded drop zone.
The last six form guide also has them in 19th place. Town are seventh in that table, ninth in League One, six points off the play-off positions.
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In the reverse fixture, a 93rd-minute Bersant Celina goal gave Town a 2-1 victory.
'Dust ourselves down', says boss Crainey
Stephen Crainey is head coach of Fleetwood.
The club appointed him as their manager until the end of the season after a successful spell as caretaker boss.
Crainey stepped in as interim manager in the wake of Simon Grayson's departure last November and he steadied the ship after a difficult start to the campaign for the Cod Army.
His team squandered a 3-0 lead at Portsmouth last weekend and on Tuesday night he saw his side lose 0-2 to Wigan and have striker and former Town man Joe Garner sent off. Crainey has said his side must move on from that second disappointment in a matter of days.
“The work effort that the lads put in (against Wigan) to keep going right up until the end was really good and that will help us in the future," he said afterwards.
"I said to them at half-time they need to keep going and they did, so all credit to them for that, and we’ll keep going, dust ourselves down, and be ready for Ipswich on Saturday."
The Vardy factor at Fleet
Jamie Vardy may only have had one season with Fleetwood, but it was one that was to shoot him to stardom and gain the Lancashire side a huge cash boost.
Having joined the Cod Army from Halifax in 2011, at the age of 24, the striker was soon netting goals for fun for Fleetwood in the Conference.
He scored twice in a 6-0 win over Southport, but six days later the team lost 1-5 at home to local rivals Blackpool in the third round of the FA Cup.
After the match, Blackpool manager Ian Holloway made a £750,000 offer for him, which Fleetwood rejected, holding on for £1m and a loan back to the club.
That season in the league Fleetwood went on a 29-game unbeaten run and were declared Conference champions with two games remaining, giving them promotion to the Football League for the first time.
At the end of the season Vardy moved to Leicester City for that fee of £1m, which subsequently rose to £1.7m, a record transfer fee for a non-league club.
Since then, Vardy has gone on to win 26 England caps and scored more than 100 goals in the Premier League.
Fleetwood have only been a Football League club 10 seasons, so meetings between themselves and the Blues are few.
The two sides have met five times to date, all in League One. Ipswich have won three times and Fleetwood twice. There have been no draws.
What the bookies say
One again Town are favourites for a victory on the Lancashire coast, just as they were last weekend at Morecambe.
But Fleetwood are no pushovers at home and they draw lots of games, just as Town are starting to do. The draw actually looks a good bet.
TOWN WIN: EVENS: FLEETWOOD WIN: 5/2: THE DRAW: 5/2
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.