GRAHAM Alexander wants his Fleetwood Town squad to prove they are as good as he believes they are in the final seven matches of the season, starting with today’s home clash against Dagenham & Redbridge.
Town are bidding to bounce back from two successive away defeats and get their promotion campaign back on track against a Daggers side unbeaten in three outings.
Manager Alexander has no doubt about the players’ ability but has called into question their professionalism and mental toughness in recent days, demanding a response today.
He told The Gazette: “It is the competitive side, the fighting spirit and the professional pride where we have to stand up and be counted.
“Whatever your ability, you have to want to win as much as your opponents.
“You can’t just rely on your ability. In the last couple of weeks we have come up against players like James Beattie and John Oster, who have played at the top level.”
Alexander again looked likely to make changes today in his bid to find a winning formula.
He said: “The players know that if they slip below the standards they have set themselves we have other players ready to step in.
“The players know that the last two performances have not been good enough. If we must lose a game, I want to see us go down fighting.
“But I know we have what it takes to win against Dagenham and Redbridge on Saturday and I want the players to show me.”
Andy Mangan is again chomping at the bit for a first appearance in six months in attack, and with Dean Howell still injured, there could be a start for Conor McLaughlin at left-back after Alan Goodall was substituted early at Barnet.
The Daggers remain only six points above the League Two drop zone and are hoping to complete a double over Fleetwood, who they beat courtesy of a stoppage-time penalty in London in November.