Phil Parkinson has his players prepped for the visit of Fleetwood Town tonight and he’s determined to keep them focused on the battle ahead. “We’ve just got to make sure that our good run lasts longer than anybody else’s. I’ve been involved in promotions, and they’re generally always tight,” he said. “One way or another, they generally tend to go to the wire and that’s something we’re prepared for. The key thing in my mind is that mentally and physically, everybody’s got to be prepared to go to the last minute, when the referee blows his whistle at the end of the last game. We’ve got to be prepared for that, but as I keep saying, we’ve got to stick with the process of, ‘This is how we’re playing – this is what we have to do to maintain that’. Whether it’s the physical stats, the movement or the timing of the runs into the box. It’s putting all those ingredients in place for us to play at our best. That’s what we’re trying to stress to the lads all the time.”
“There’s not many teams slipping up at the minute, and if you listen to the comments of the managers that are up there, we’re all saying the same,” he said. “There is no let up and you can’t take your foot off the gas at all, but we’re certainly not going to do that. I feel the lads are driving themselves on at the moment, which is great to see. You can see it in training all the time, and on match-day, there’s a real sense of desire amongst the group to keep going. I think we’ve got the qualities within the team to maintain a challenge. It’s very competitive in the division, we know that, but I feel we have the quality within the squad we need. We just need to keep focused on every game now.”
PREDICTED XI VS FLEETWOOD
GK: Jon McLaughlin. Although he was untested against Bristol Rovers, McLaughlin has been important in other games recently and has once again cemented himself as our number one.
RWB: Luke O’Nien. Mr Consistent was great once again on Saturday and his goal, albeit with a huge slice of luck, will only boost his confidence even more.
CB: Jordan Willis. Perhaps the best centre half in the league, the former Coventry man is vital in the three-man defence and should be expecting to start every game.
CB: Alim Ozturk. Back in the team due to Wright’s injury, the Turk didn’t do much wrong against Bristol and it would certainly be unfair to drop him for Joel Lynch or Tommy Smith.
CB: Tom Flanagan. The lanky defender has improved in leaps and bounds recently, much like the rest of the team. Against Rovers he was managing to bring the ball out from defence well, mirroring Willis on the other side.
LWB: Denver Hume. It’s really impressive that despite his age, he’s managing to play week in, week out. Even if sometimes the quality of his final ball isn’t quite there, he always takes up the right positions to create danger.
CM: Max Power. The captain is a good influence on and off the pitch, and is bringing the very best out of his teammates. He’s always vocal which was missed earlier on in the season.
CM: George Dobson. Dobson seems to have come through his rough patch and is now one of the body important players in our pressing system. He harries extremely well and has started adding more on the ball too, supplying the wing backs with some brilliant long diagonal balls.
RW: Chris Maguire. With the Scottish playmaker getting all three assists last time out against Rovers, he’s proven once again how his work off the pitch has helped his game.
LW: Lynden Gooch. The American forward showed why you can’t write him off at the weekend. Even when things weren’t going his way, he popped up with a crucial goal to open the floodlights, just when Parkinson seemed to be about to sun him off.
ST: Charlie Wyke. Of course, Wyke scored a great goal, rounding the keeper, but as well as that his overall play was very impressive. He’ll be looking to add to his goal tally tonight against a tougher opponent.