Fleetwood focus on first-leg win in Wembley bid

Steven Pressley
Steven Pressley
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Steven Pressley insists Fleetwood Town won’t be holding back in their efforts to win at Barnsley this afternoon and take a massive step towards Wembley.

Town face the Tykes at Oakwell in the first leg of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy Northern Area Final.

Lower league players rarely have an opportunity to play a two-leg match but Pressley has been keen to keep everything as normal as possible.

“I hope it’s not quite like any other league game away from home because we’ve not won too many,” he joked.

“We’re just going to apply the same principles and focus on what we’re good at.

“We have to keep the focus on ourselves. We feel that if this group play as we know they can we can win the game.”

Pressley knows that beating Barnsley over two legs may be the best chance many of his players get to play at Wembley in their careers. And he wants to build a strong foundation at Oakwell this afternoon.

“Anything can happen between ties in terms of form and confidence,” he said (the return leg is not until February 2).

“It’s a really important game in terms of giving us a real opportunity to go to Wembley. We’d love to go there, show what a good side we are and play some good football in a fantastic arena.

“Everybody at the club would want to be involved in that game. It’s a brilliant incentive.

“We can’t overemphasise how important this game is. It’s not just getting to Wembley – it’s using it as a motivation for the rest of the season.

“It brings a real feelgood factor to the community and the club, and we’d love to be involved in that game.”

Victory today will be at the forefront of Pressley’s thinking but he knows the strategy might have to change over the course of 90 minutes.

The Fleetwood boss explained: “We want to win the game but I understand you’ve also got to give yourself a chance in the next leg.

“I think sometimes during the game you’ve got to change your tactical approach to allow that to happen.

“But we’ll certainly be going there initially to win. Nothing changes in that respect.”

Fleetwood may be facing a battle to keep one of their star men after Northern Ireland international Conor McLaughlin was named as a target for Championship Wolves.

The West Midlands club are understood to be keeping close tabs on the right-back, who is expected to play at Euro 2016 this summer.

The 24-year-old is out of contract in the summer and Town might be tempted to cash in on one of their prize assets although no approach has yet been made by the Molyneux club.

Fleetwood boss Steven Pressley remains focused on bringing players in to the club and this week he has been running an eye over Spurs frontman Shaq Coulthirst.

The striker is understood to be a target for Wigan and Shrewsbury but spent Thursday and Friday at Poolfoot Farm training with the Fleetwood squad.