Crainey: Players take the blame

Stephen Crainey

Stephen Crainey

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Stephen Crainey made it clear Fleetwood Town’s players will pull their socks up and look to repeat their nine-month unbeaten home run in the league.

Their proud 16-game record in came to and end on Saturday with a 1-0 defeat by Walsall – a match in which Crainey admitted Town were well below their best.

The left-back said: “We never got going. Walsall were really good and we couldn’t deal with them, to be honest.

“Second half we gave it a bit of a go but it didn’t work out.

“We’ve got to try to move on now and be ready for Swindon next week.

“We’ll try and build on the second-half performance next week at Swindon. That’s all we can do.”

Fleetwood’s players were sent out early before the second half, having taken an ear-bashing from manager Graham Alexander. Crainey knows the criticism was deserved and made it clear the buck stopped with the players and not their boss.

“I think the lads knew themselves they never really got going.

“It’s hard to put a finger on it but the blame lies with the lads on the pitch.

“The manager can only set us up and tell us what to do. It’s our responsibility once we cross that line.

“We never closed down well enough. We didn’t keep the ball well enough.”

But at the same time Crainey, who played for Blackpool and Wigan in the Premier League, insisted the team couldn’t be accused of a lack of effort.

“I don’t think it’s a lack of trying,” he said. “They are an honest bunch and sometimes it just doesn’t go your way.”

Now Crainey is targeting an even better run from Fleetwood, one which could lift them into play-off contention.

Alexander’s side are currently four points off the pace in 10th place.

“It’s disappointing to lose the home record,” he said.

“But we want go on another run like that and get the away form sorted as well.

“That’s only going to come with hard work, hard graft. That can happen, we know it can.”

Town ended their torrid away run – seven consecutive defeats – with victory at Yeovil on their last road trip 10 days ago.

This weekend they face a much tougher test, travelling to second-placed Swindon Town.

After that they have a two-week break before facing Sheffield United at Highbury.